The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust
Education has Oral Histories posted online.
The project began in the 1970s. There are about 300
oral histories posted as of October 2020.
Each interview is both audio and transcribed.
Family stories are listed in alphabetical order.
Hirsch and Weis:
Meier & Frank
Norden and Mansfield
Abrahamson's great nephew, Paulo Alexandre
Paulo, Brazil, posted a note in the JewishGen
email group on May 3, 2020.
that his "grandfather, Alexander Abrahamsohn and
his brother, Robert,
in Velikye Luki Russia, moved to Tuetz, West
Prussia, which is presently
Poland. Robert emigrated to the US and lived in
his cousin, Jay Weiner, great grandson of Rabbi
permission for information and photos of Rabbi
Abrahamson to be
this KehilaLinks page.
Rubenstein of Portland found newspaper articles
about Rabbi Abrahamson.
given her permission for the material she found to
be posted on this
Rabbi Abrahamson was born in Poland, per Steven
Lowenstein, author of
Jews of Oregon, 1850-1950, published in 1987
by the Jewish Historical Society
Portland, OR. [with permission] Per Paulo, it was
Velikye Luki, Russia.
Community Database states it was Russia. The town
where Paulo said the family lived, Tuczno,
was in Prussia, now is in Poland, per JewishGen.
Rabbi Robert Abrahamson was born about 1851-2. He
arrived in the US about 1860.
1890 Directory, Rev. Robert Abrahamson was listed
as a Reader at
Rabbi Abrahamson's wife was Annie Epsteyn/Epstein.
They married in Portland in 1887.
children were Ninessim/Nissim, Edith, Pearl and
Morton, all born in Oregon.
died in 1913 at the age of twelve.
Rabbi Abrahamson served as chazzan [cantor] and
rabbi at Ahavai Sholom
[established 1869], from 1880 to 1922.
[Lowenstein, Steven, p. 106, 164]
Here is a newspaper article from 1917, clipped
from the Oregon Daily Journal, courtesy of
Rabbi Abrahamson died on 21 July 1922. Surviving
him were his widow, Anna, his
[Edith] Mrs. Maier Kasper of Wapato, Washington,
Miss Pearl Abrahamson of Portland
[later of Auburn, Washington], and his son, Nissim
of Hoquiam, Washington.
He was a
Rabbi Emeritus and a member of B'nai B'rith of
Portland Lodge Number 65.
found at NewsBank, Inc. website by Sura
Rubenstein, originally printed
Morning Oregonian newspaper, July 22, 1922, page
permission of Sura Rubenstein and Paulo
Anna Epsteyn Abrahamson died 11 October 1935. Her
headstone says her given name was Anita.
Abrahamson was buried at Ahavai Sholom Cemetery
beside Rabbi Robert Abrahamson.
Online Worldwide Burial Registry and
Nissim worked for an apparel company and lived in
was Myrtle J. Donahue. They had three
daughters: Mary Ann, Carolyn Rose and
Roberta Elaine. [Hoyt Family Tree, Ancestry.com
public tree, owned by
died in Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington in 1962, per
Edith and her husband, Maier Kasper, also lived in
Hoquiam, Washington in 1930.
in the clothing business. In the early 1940s,
Maier was listed in the directory
Spokane, Washington. Maier died in Seattle in
1951. Edith was listed as Maier's widow
in 1960 in
Seattle. Edith died 1978 in Seattle. Their
daughter, Frances Margaret or
Kasper, married Sidney N. Weiner, per Ancestry.com
Pearl died 23 December 1935 in Auburn, King
buried with the family at Ahavai Sholom cemetery
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry.
RETURN TO SURNAME LIST
Sue Axel's story, "Tales of Genealogy," is
posted on Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon's
RETURN TO SURNAME LIST
by Wayne N.
Left to Right: Lou Feves, Issac Feves,
Alius Feves, Michael “Iron Mike” Feves, Neche
Feves, Hannah Feves, Pearl Feves,
ca 1920, Portland, Oregon. Courtesy of
Wayne N. Burton, MD, used with permission.
The genealogy of a family, especially of one as
large and complex as the Feves Family, must rely
on a family historian---ours was my Aunt, Hannah
Feves Cole. In addition, Pearl Feves wrote her
autobiography when she was a high school
student, and we have documents from many members
of the Feves family.
Michael “Iron Mike" Feves was the patriarch of
the Feves family, and subsequently, a number of
his descendants were also named Michael or Mike.
Three records from Lithuania show different
birth information for Michael Feves. One states
that he was born April 15, 1873 in Varniai,
another states that he was born May 1, 1879 on
the Polukst farm in Telsiai, Lithuania, and on
his signed handwritten petition for
naturalization, he entered March 15, 1874. His
parents were Nachman and Tsira (or Cheerkah).
They lived in Varniai, Lithuania on an estate
called Chepaichiai in the Labardzhiai volost in
1915. They owned property on Gornaya Street in
Siauliai, Lithuania between 1912-1916. Nachman’s
father, Gershhon, lived in Laukuva in 1849 and
in Paluksciai in 1877.
Naturalization papers for Mike Feves listed
his name as Michael Fivisch and his wife
as Dora Scvescovich. One of their sons, Itzik
Fywusch or Feivusch, changed his name to Louis
Feves as part of his naturalization on December
8, 1937, when he became a citizen of the United
States. The origin of the family name “Feves”
was probably “Fajvish” or “Fajvush,” which were
Jewish names typical of Lithuania. Regardless of
the previous spellings, after coming to the
United States, all of the members of the family
would use Feves as their family name. [Fivish
was a typical family name in Lithuania,
according to Alexander Beider in his paper, “The
Given Names in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania,”
Michael married Dora Sevechovitz (aka
Scvescovich). Michael Feves’ wife, listed as
Neche Dore Sevescovich, was born on April 16,
1878 in Kovna, Lithuania. They were married on
January 21, 1903, according to their marriage
certificate. Neche Dora
Sevechovitz was 12 years old when her mother
died. At some point, Dora lived in Berlin, the
daughter of a wealthy family which lost all of
their worldly goods in a pogrom. How Dora
eventually moved to the little town of Vorna, in
Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania is
Dora had seven children; two died very young.
whose given name was Elias or Eliahu Gerson, was
born on February 4, 1908 in
Lithuania, although he told relatives his
birthdate was January 1, 1907. Al told me that
he didn’t know his exact birth date, so he
selected January 1 because it was easy to
remember. However, we were able to find his
birth records from Lithuania, and his birth date
was recorded as February 4, 1908. There was
a twin of Alius, named Aisik, whose birth was recorded
with Alius/Elias', and was reportedly shot
and killed in Lithuania.
(“Ike”) was born October 15, 1908 in
Lithuania, according to his mother's
Petition for Naturalization. Isaac lived
until 1983 and died in Portland.
was born on March 1, 1910 in Lithuania. He
changed his name to Louis Feves as part of his
naturalization proceedings dated December 8,
born April 15, 1911 in Lithuania. Hannah's
family history stated that an earlier Hannah who
died of smallpox at a young age.
born April 9, 1915 in Portland, Oregon, about
three years after Iron Mike
and Dora arrived in the United States.
birth dates of Jewish children born in Lithuania
were the number of days after a Jewish holiday
in a given year. Many Jews who immigrated to the
United States took an easy-to-remember date such
as “July 4th” which was also symbolic of their
new-found freedom in the United States.
Our patriarch, Mike Feves, traveled from Hamburg
Germany to Philadelphia on March 30, 1911 on the
steamer Prinz Oskar. He traveled 3rd cabin and
landed in Philadelphia on April 13, 1911. Mike’s
voyage to the United States was probably very
scenic since there is a listing
December 18, 2005] that on April 8, 1911, only
nine days after departing Hamburg, the Prinz
Oscar, sailing from Hamburg to Philadelphia,
passed a large iceberg!
Mike Feves' residence on the Preliminary
Petition for Naturalization (undated) was 430 1/2 First
Street with a post office address of 283 First
Street in Portland, Oregon. This was the Jewish
section of Portland at that time and for decades
to follow. The person in the United States that
he was going to stay with or his sponsor was Sam
Goldstein in Portland Oregon, who was the
purchaser of his ticket. Sam Goldstein was Dora
Feves’ brother. Dora came with her four children
later, arriving in Philadelphia about May
28,1912. Hannah had been born about eight months
before the trip, which is why the family
couldn’t travel together earlier.
Feves Family: The Early Years in Lithuania
description of Neche Dora's and Michael's life
in Lithuania is from Pearl's Autobiography,
written in 1931, based on her parents' own
histories as told to her. Pearl's entire
Autobiography is added at the end of this story.
As a result
of Neche Dora’s mother’s death, Neche reared her
four brothers, Sam, Ben, Hymie and Lazer (Louis)
and a baby sister in Lithuania. Neche’s father
remarried and her stepmother added another
infant to the family. Neche’s stepmother was
described as truly “wicked." Neche was in her
teens when she had to raise a family, milk six
cows daily, cook meals, help with her father’s
grain mill and clean the house, while her
stepmother lay idle. It was no easy life
for Neche, and her health was “easily broken
The marriage between Neche Dora Sevechovitz and
Michael Fywusch (Feves) was pre-arranged by a shadchen,
with his usual fee and the usual dowry as was
the custom of the day. Michael had a wheat mill
and plenty of geese. Both Neche and Michael were
of Orthodox Jewish families. At the time,
Lithuania was part of Russia, a country filled
with unhappy Jews who shuddered at the cruel
tyranny of the Russian Czar.
father was one of the poorest but the best
tailors in the village. He had one large
room in his shop in which there were seats
arranged as in a school room. There were six
promising young tailors working away, including
Michael. Mike’s father was a teacher of
tailoring and he had two assistants. All of the
work was done by hand, and if it was not
satisfactory, it had to be done over. As each
aspiring tailor advanced in skill he was
promoted to the position of assistant, after
which he would have to make his own living. Mike
did not work long with his father; he choose
mill work instead. While working at the mill he
met Necha Dora, his future wife. She was glad to
marry Mike, because he took her away from the
unhappy life that she was leading. With the
passing of time in Vorna, Mike bought his own
little mill and was also selling geese.
Necha Dora Feves had six of their seven children
in Lithuania. One child, the first Hannah, died
of smallpox in Lithuania. There was also a
seventh child who was shot in front of their
parents in Lithuania. This son was Aisik, the
twin brother of Alius (“Al”) /Elias Gershon
Faivus (Feves) according to Aisik's death
certificate from Lithuania and Lithuanian
records. Alius' middle name, Gershon, was from
Mike was bored with the monotony of working and
slaving for the little he was making in
Lithuania. He received a letter from his
brother-in-law, Sam J. Goldstein, who lived in
Portland Oregon, full of encouragement to travel
to the United States. By 1911
Necha Dora and Mike had three living children,
all sons. In March,
1911, with a steamship ticket from Sam J.
Goldstein, he kissed his family good-bye and
left for the Promised Land, vowing to send for
his family as soon as he could. A few months
after his departure, their second daughter,
Hannah, was born, named after the Hannah who had
had died of smallpox.
Family: Life in Portland, Oregon, USA:
traveled from Hamburg, Germany to Philadelphia
on March 30, 1911 on the steamer Prinz Oscar,
found in the Morton Allen Directory of European
Passenger Steamship Arrivals (www.ancestry.com).
Michael Feves traveled “3rd cabin” (third
class) and landed in Philadelphia from
Hamburg Germany on April 13, 1911. Necha Dora
came about a year later, arriving in
Philadelphia about June 21, 1912, with her
three sons, Alius, Louis, and Isaac and
daughter, Hannah. The
residence on Mike's Preliminary Form for
Petition for Naturalization (undated) is 430 1/2
First St. with post office address of 283 First
Street, Portland, Oregon. The person in
the United States that he was going to stay with
or his sponsor was Sam Goldstein in Portland,
Oregon. Sam also purchased his ticket. Sam
Goldstein was Mike's brither-in-law, Necha
Dora's brother. Evidently, Sam Sevechovitz had
changed his last name to Goldstein.
It was not easy for a foreigner to find
employment in the United States, but Mike worked
hard as a tailor for Meier and Frank Company*,
and sent part of his money to his family. After
buying his own tailor shop, he sent for his
family. The streets of America were not
paved with gold, but conditions were better than
in Lithuania. The family lived on the east side
of Portland, Oregon, in two rooms of a little
house. The front room of the house, located at
831 Alberta Street, was occupied by a barber
shop. It was in one of the back rooms of this
house that Pearl Feves (Burton) was born on
April 9, 1915.
[*Meier and Frank Department store would be
purchased by other companies and the name would
be changed to Macy’s in 2006.]
Mike and Dora Feves eventually owned several
buildings on First Avenue, including his tailor
shop, apartment buildings and a secondhand store
owned by Al Feves. The important
intersection at First and Caruthers had Louis
Leveton’s drugstore on one corner for many
years. When Leveton died, Korsun’s grocery moved
into the same space. Across the street was the
grocery run by Mrs. Maccoby, whose husband,
Moses, taught at the Hebrew school. Next to it
were the well-known Solomon Apartments, built by
Jacob Solomon. Barney Finkelstein and his family
had a house at 308 Caruthers in the 1920s.
bakery was also located on First near Caruthers,
and he produced what many would swear were the
best bagels they ever tasted. As a young boy, I
recall my father driving my brother and me to
“South Portland” to Mosler’s Bakery on Sunday
morning to get a dozen bagels and a rye bread.
Across the street we would get corned beef at
Korsun’s grocery for lunch. Mr. Mosler was was rather
short and bald, and not
particularly friendly. One day he gave my
brother and me a bagel. I pointed out to my
father how nice Mr. Mosler was that day. My
father told me that the bagels were just part of
the dozen that he paid for! Nevertheless, there
was nothing like a warm fresh bagel from
Mosler’s, because the next day they would be
hard as a rock---
buildings along First Avenue were inherited by
his five children and owned jointly, until the
City of Portland bought them for urban renewal.
The area in the 1950s and 1960s had become home
of the poor. This property included “Iron
Mike’s” secondhand clothing store, a bar, a
transient hotel, a barber shop, and a secondhand
store run by his son, Al Feves.
“Iron Mike” Feves' Tailor shop on corner of
First Avenue, Portland, Oregon and other
property that he owned.
[ca 1960] Taken by Wayne N.
Burton, MD, used with permission.
children in old South Portland attended the
Failing School, located between Hooker and
Porter streets, just east of Front Avenue.
As many as half of the children at Failing
School were Jewish during the first years of the
century, and approximately 20% were Italian.
Upon graduation from elementary school, most
Jews went on to Lincoln High School, where many
made their first real contact with the “outside”
world. Among the classmates at Lincoln
High School was Mel Blanc, who as an adult
became the voice of many of the Looney Tunes
cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy
Duck, Porky Pig and numerous others, and voiced
Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, including The
Flintstones' Barney Rubble.
More about Alius G. “Al” Feves
Alius G. “Al” Feves was born on February 4, 1908
in Kovna, Lithuania and moved to Portland,
Oregon with his family as a boy in 1911. He
actually did not know his true birth date so
selected January 1, 1907 because it was easy to
The family first lived in a one-room apartment
behind a barber shop on N.E. 26th and Alberta
streets, while his father worked as a tailor and
later ran a men’s secondhand apparel shop.
Al’s father would get up at 5:00 every morning
and walk the five miles to his store. Al said,
“We used to save our nickels so that we could
ride the streetcar, but we didn’t have many
rides in those days.” He became a “newsie” at
age eight, selling newspapers on street corners
and earning a few cents a day for his
family. That’s when he picked up the
nickname “Hell Yes” because customers couldn’t
pronounce Alius, his first name. He sold
newspapers at northwest 30th and Alberta, then
at Southwest Broadway and Washington. Later he
also had a route along Southwest Sixth Avenue,
from Washington Street to the Union Depot, then
Portland’s red light district. “The girls there
were always nice to me,” he said in a 1985
newspaper interview. “Sometimes they didn’t pay
me for a week or even a month... But when they
had the money, they paid me in a chunk. So I’d
get two or three dollars---and that was a lot of
money then." Papers sold for a penny
Al’s family moved to the west side where he
graduated from Lincoln High School in 1924. He
attended Reed College for one year---”but I got
into trouble with my chemistry professor,
because I was so tired and sleepy in
class.” He worked at a garage every night
as a "grease monkey” to earn money for school.
The teacher was unmoved. He suggested that Al
find another school. Al stayed out of school for
a year to work and then tried two colleges and
business school before he finally decided to
study pharmacy at Oregon State University and
become a pharmacist. He graduated in 1930. Al
earned two baccalaureate degrees in chemistry
and pharmacy from Oregon State. He also had
attended North Pacific College, Reed college,
Northwestern School of Commerce and the
University of Oregon.
appealed to Al, and he enrolled in the
University of Southern California and began
studying anatomy. During his sophomore year,
however, he was among six students asked to
leave because the school’s quota had been met.
By the time Al earned his degree in pharmacy
“drug stores were closing one after another” due
to the Depression. He worked for a time for
McKesson Pacific Drug Company inventorying shelf
stock in stores that were going out of business.
That’s how he learned a drug store in
McMinnville was for sale for $1500.
An older friend, whom he had helped set up
another business, offered to put up the money to
buy the store if Al would run it. “My
partner said, ‘As soon as I get my $1500 and a
couple hundred in profit the rest is yours for
free.' And he said, 'I hope you can do it in 30
days.'..So I put on a sale and got his money in
15 days, only then I didn’t have any stock
left...” But that didn’t stop Al. He
talked a local drug wholesaler into giving him
$1000 of stock on credit in return for Al’s
promise of continued business. With fresh stock,
he reopened the store and operated it from 1933
until he sold it in 1938.
He then bought Knight’s Drug Store on Southwest
11th and Washington in Portland. Because Al kept
the store’s name, many customers assumed he was
“Mr. Knight”. In fact, he says, some people
called him by that name for many years later. In
1942 he traded Knight’s Drug Store for an
apartment building when he was drafted at the
beginning of World War II.
When Al talked about his years in the service, a
big smile spreads across his face. “I had a hell
of a good time,” he would say. Al loved to tell
stories and he had many from his Army years.
Most of his service time was spent at Fort
Lewis, Washington. In typical Army fashion, the
fact that he was a pharmacist was ignored until
about nine months prior to his discharge, when
he was finally asked to set up a pharmacy lab.
Before that, he served as a postmaster, a
warehouse man, a supply clerk, a drill sergeant
and a chef.
“When I was a chef---that was the best part. I
had 24 hours on duty and the next two days off.
I didn’t even have to get up for reveille...
later I worked 36 hours and then had six days
Then with a
grin he would tell the story about the guard who
was usually at the gate when he would leave on a
six-day pass. His name was Sullivan and he
often made comments about Al’s unusual duty
schedule. After his discharge, Al ran into
Sullivan again, only this time Sullivan was a
Portland policeman, and he gave Al a ticket for
making a wrong turn. When Sullivan recognized
Al, he laughed and told Al, "I’ll get you this
time.” Al said. “Now those were the days when
you could fix tickets, but I had a hell of a
time with that ticket. I never could get it
Al said that he didn’t know what he wanted to do
when he got out of the service in 1945, but then
a friend of his father’s suggested that he find
some properties for investment. “Lawrence
Rosellini came to me and said, ‘Here’s my
checkbook...Buy something.” Al explained
that Rosellini was a long-time family friend
from their old South Portland neighborhood----”a
community of Italians and Jews where people
could speak each other’s language.”
Rosellini who owned a cafe at Southwest Fifth
and Taylor, often came by with a bottle of wine
in the afternoon to visit his father at his
secondhand shop on Southwest First and
Jefferson. “They were friends. They would loan
each other money...Our families were
With Mike Feves financial backing, Al began
investing in apartments and houses. He
said that it paid off for Rosellini--- ”He got
more money back than he had ever put in. He was
happy.” It also paid off for Al. It was
the beginning of a property management and
investment business which continued to grow
until he retired in 1969. Al was a short,
rounded man who weighed 250 pounds when he went
into the Army.
wore a cap to cover his bald head and well-worn
clothes. A newspaper article about him in 1985
stated, “Don’t be fooled by the second-hand
facade. He is an educated man, a shrewd
Al went into the U.S. Army in 1942 and served
three years in the medical corps, then returned
to Portland and married Sadie in 1947. Rather
than pharmacy, he pursued a 50-year career as a
real estate investor in Portland, Oregon. At one
time he had investments in about 20 apartment
buildings. Al would work six days a week until
his death at age 87.
Al was a leader in the Portland Jewish community
and was honored by Israel with the Ben Gurion
Award for his fund-raising efforts. He served as
president in 1965-66 and secretary-treasurer of
the Ex-Newsboys Association, which he was
involved in for 35 years. The organization named
him its Man of the Year in the mid-1960s.
Al reached the pinnacle of his life when he was
Bar Mitzvahed at age 73. “I had missed this
important date during my life. It’s something
I’ve always wanted to do." He studied Hebrew and
the Torah with Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, and then
Cantor Mark Dinkin perfected his skills. He
would be Bar Mitzvahed a second time at age 83.
I had the opportunity to attend both events in
One of the sources for this story is Pearl Feves
Autobiography, which she wrote in 1931:
November 20, 1931
For me an autobiography is like a
diary; it is something in which I can
write what I think and nobody will
care. It has always been my desire to
write an autobiography, just to remind
myself, in later years, that I have perhaps
grown older and wiser.
been thirty years since my parents were joined
in matrimony in the little town of Vorna,
State of Kovno, in Lithuania. Both of my
parents were of Orthodox Jewish
families. At the time Lithuania was a
part of Russia, a country filled with unhappy
Jews who shuddered at the cruel tyranny of the
I do not
know much of my grandmothers, only that my
sister is the exact picture of Dad’s
mother. My other grandmother passed away
when Mother was twelve years old. This
left her, as the oldest child, to raise the
whole immediate family, which consisted of
four brothers and a baby sister. Her
father increased the burden by re-marrying and
later adding another infant to the
family. Her stepmother was like the
ordinary mean stepmother of whom we
know. In her teens, Mother had to raise
a family, milk six cows daily, cook meals,
help care for the mill, and clean house while
her stepmother lay idle. It was no easy
job, and her health was easily broken down.
father was one of the poorest but best tailors
in the village. He had one large room in
which there were seats arranged as in a
schoolroom. There were six promising
young tailors working away, one of whom was
Dad. Grandfather was the teacher, and he
had two assistants. All the work was
done by hand, and if it was not satisfactory,
according to the word of the assistants, it
had to be done over. As each
aspiring tailor advanced in skill, he
was promoted to position of assistant, after
which he would have to make his own
living. My dad did not work long with
his father. He chose mill-work
instead. His employment at the mill
where mother worked found him a wife. I
believe mother was glad to marry Dad, because
he took her from the unhappy life she was
leading. With the passing of time in
Vorna, Father had bought his own little mill
and was selling geese, too.
By 1911, Mother and Dad had three sons. (Their
first child, a daughter, had died). the oldest
boy was about four years old, and another
infant was on its way.
was bored with the monotony of working and
slaving for the little he was getting.
Letters from his brother-in-law in Portland
were full of encouragement; so in the forepart
of 1911, with a passport from one of his
brothers-in-law, he kissed his family good-bye
and left for the Promised Land, vowing to send
for his family as soon as he could. A
few months after his departure, my sister was
born. It was not easy for a foreigner to
find employment in a new country, but Dad
worked hard as a tailor and sent part of his
money to his family. A year later, after
buying his own tailor shop, he sent for his
family. The streets of America were not
filled with gold, but conditions here were
better than at Lithuania, which by that time
was a Republic.
lived on the East Side in two rooms of a
little house. The front room of that
house was occupied by a barber shop. It
was in one of the back rooms, the 9th of April
1915, that I was born.
My birth was no different from the birth of my
brothers and sister before me. I know
two things only, --that I was either hungry or
uncomfortable, and I could yell as loudly as
any infant in distress. I cannot
remember much of my early life, only that I
used to lisp. My sister, Hannah, spent
hours a day trying to correct this fault which
was apparently attractive to a child my
age. Hannah was the only fair one in the
family. She was red-haired,
temperamental, peppy and somewhat of a
tomboy. Her freckles were as much a
cause for her worry as my constant lisping,
but she claimed a leopard could not change its
spots. It was not long before I stopped
youngest brother, Lou, and my sister, Hannah,
were inseparable. Lou had a knack of getting
injured by automobiles. If Lou got hurt,
Hannah was hurt. If Lou had a bad cold,
Hannah sneezed. Three times Lou was injured,
and Hannah would yell for a long time if she
a year and a half the senior of Lou. He, like
myself, had big brown eyes, a calm
disposition, and was extremely timid. He was a
perfect gentleman and adored by all.
oldest of my brothers, was always hard to
understand. As a youngster, he was
peculiar, but shrewd. He would leave
home early and return late in the evening with
no explanations. He would never talk much and
his teachers at Vernon School were puzzled
brothers all sold papers to help the financial
problem in the family. By the time I was six,
we were living on the West Side, and I was
ready for school. The first thing I remember
about school was a tall teacher. She was thin
and straight-laced, kept her chin up in the
air, and wore her hair in a knot on top of her
head. That was enough. I believe I’ve been
timid ever since being a pupil in her room.
She loved to punish pupils, and it was a
pleasure some of them afforded her often. I
remember one little fellow in my class whom
she did not like. No matter what went wrong,
from the chimney smoking or the rain dropping,
Norman was at fault. She was set in her
ways—bad ways--and there was nothing I could
do about it.
a great many things that are no use. One is
talking about things nobody wants to know.
That’s why I’m leaving out my earlier school
days. When I reached the eight grade in
grammar school, I had more confidence in
myself. I had a few chosen schoolmates and the
schoolwork was still interesting to me, only I
did hate “history.” Many times I hated
it for keeping my name off the honor roll. I
had no trouble getting along with anyone,
because I could listen much better than I
finished grammar school, however, I was a
pupil at the Portland Hebrew School.
There were about one hundred and fifty Jewish
boys and girls attending there. The lessons
were in the Hebrew language, and each day we
had assignments either written or oral. They
were interesting, but many of us could have
found more amusing things to do than to go to
progressed quite nicely by the time I was
ready for high school in 1928. He had his own
store and had bought some property, including
our present home.
which belongs to every pupil starting high
school eventually came to me. I started
at the High School of Commerce first,
intending to follow in the footsteps of my
sister. She had won eleven typing awards and a
Remington typewriter for proficiency in
typewriting, and was also the owner of two or
three shorthand certificates. My sister,
however, was dissatisfied. She regretted
missing the experience of college life and
unselfishly wanted me to go. I started my
second term at high school, since Sis had
convinced me of a more solid education at
Lincoln High, from which school my three
brothers had been graduated. I am not sorry I
came to Lincoln. History is still the bane of
my existence, but I enjoy school in general. I
never did have much time for play because of
the Hebrew School, but I was graduated from
there in 1929. Some of my classmates are not
perfect, but this world would not be
interesting if there weren’t something wrong
funny to cover sixteen years in so few pages
and come to the present time. Things have
changed for my whole family. Education has
been the paramount ambition of Mother for her
children, and I believe she has been
successful. Al is a graduate pharmacist with
three degrees from Oregon State College. He is
now a medical student at the University of
Southern California. Isaac is a graduate of
the University of Oregon and a medical student
at the University of Oregon Medical School.
Lou is a member of an honorary medical
fraternity and also a student at the
University of Oregon Medical School. My sister
has changed from the temperamental
tomboy to a young lady with a responsible
position. She is secretary to a court reporter
in Circuit Judge Ekwall’s department. She is
also my best adviser.
many things to keep me busy now, beside
schoolwork. After school I help Dad at the
store and then Mother and I go home and get
dinner. When Sis does not work late, she and I
help the boys with drawings or typing. I spend
two evenings a week at gym and am very fond of
tennis and swimming when the weather allows
financial conditions will permit, and if all’s
well, I hope to start college in a year or so.
Five years ago I could not look into the
future and find myself where I am. My sister
says if you try to do things well, the future
will take care of itself. Who knows?
born at home in Portland, Oregon at 831 Alberta
Street. In a letter from Lou Feves, her
brother, he noted that “within 24 hours after
her birth my mother was up and about. My father
took a couple of days off to help at home.”
RETURN TO SURNAME
WEIS: THE WHITE STAG COMPANY
The White Stag
company's neon sign is still a famous part of
Here is the story of
the company and its founders.
The Hirsches were
related to Jeanette Hirsch Meier, Aaron Meier's
wife. Jeanette's father, Moses, had two
The Hirsches who came
to Portland from Germany were related to Moses
and his second wife. They came to help
with the Meier &
Frank store. Max eventually became the
superintendent of Meier & Frank,
and left their store
in 1907. Max and Harry Weis purchased the
Willamette Tent and Awning Company from Oregon
Pioneer Henry Wemme.
The firm became known as Hirsch-Weis, and later
anglicized its name to White Stag, by
translating weiss and Hirsch from
German. At first they made canvas for ships and
tents, horse covers and waterbags
for Alaskan gold
prospectors. Max's son, Harold, started the
company's formal sportswear lines during the
and built the company
into a major manufacturer. In 1966, Warnaco, a
large Connecticut clothing manufacturer,
bought enough stock in
White Stag to incorporate it as a Warnaco unit.
In 1987, Warnaco closed all White Stag
Max Hirsch was active
in the anti-Zionist American Council for
Judaism. [Eisenberg, p. 172] Solomon Hirsch was a
[Eisenberg, p. 179]
Max Hirsch was born in
Worms, Germany about 1873. He arrived in the USA
about 1888. In the 1900 US Census,
Max, Leon, Ludwig and
Leopold were living with the Steinhardt family.
Emma Hirsch Steinhardt was their sister.
The Hirsches were dry
goods clerks who may have worked for Emma's
husband in wholesale dry goods.
Leon arrived about
1880; Ludwig arrived about 1884; Leopold arrived
about 1886, and Max arrived about 1888.
Max S. Hirsch of
Portland, OR, married Clementine B. Seller in
Boise, Idaho on 12 June 1904. A judge
Clementine was the
daughter of Henry and Helena Sellers. The
Sellers were from Bavaria.
Clementine was born
about 1877. She had a brother, Leo W. Sellers,
who was b. about 1874.
In the 1910 Census,
Max was married to Clementine S. and they had a
son, Harold Seller Hirsch, age two.
Max was in the tent
and awning business.
In the 1920 Census,
Max was the president of a manufacturing firm.
Their daughter, Helene, was born about 1912.
On this Census, it
states that Max was born in Worms, Germany.
Clementine died 1
February 1945, and was buried in Beth Israel
Cemetery, Block 50, Section 1, Plot 2.
Max died 1 June 1959
and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block
50, Section 1, Plot 1.
In the 1930 city
directory for Portland:
Edith D. Hirsch, widow
of Leon, lived at 443 Montgomery Drive.
Leopold B. Hirsch was
the vice president of Hirsch-Weis Manufacturing
Company and lived at 245 King.
Ludwig (Florence) was
the department manager for M&F Company
[Meier & Frank] and lived at 751 Flanders.
Max S. (Clementine)
was the president and manager of Hirsch-Weis
Manufacturing Company and lived at
718 Prospect Drive.
Harold also resided there, and was a clerk at
Hirsh-Weis. Helene also resided there, and was a
Manufacturing Company: Max S. Hirsch
president-manager, Leopold B. Hirsch vice
Harry A. Weis
secretary-treasurer, tent and clothing
manufacturers, 201-9 Burnside.
Leon Hirsch was born
in Worms, Germany about 1861. He married Edith
They had a daughter,
Eleanor S. In the 1920 Census, Leon was the
secretary of a department store.
Leon died 14 September
1929 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery,
Block 92, Section 1, Plot 3.
Ludwig Hirsch was born
in Worms, Germany about 1866. His wife was
Their children were
Robert, Amalie and Rosalie. Ludwig was a
merchant in a department store, an employer.
Ludwig died 11 June
1952 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery,
Block 92, Section 1, Plot 8.
Leopold Hirsch was
born in Worms, Germany about 1869. In the 1920
Census, Leopold was 51, single,
living with his
mother, Mirma? Hirsch, 76, widow. Leopold was a
door merchant, an employer.
In the 1930 Census,
Leopold was 62, single, a manufacturer of
waterproof clothing, an employer,
living with his
sister, Eda H. Low and her husband, Julius.
Leopold died 18 August
1961 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery,
Block 50, Section 1, Plot 6.
states on p. 7 that "Brothers Solomon, Edward
and Leopold Hirsch arrived during the 1850s"
J.B. and Maier Hirsch with their general
merchandise store, which had moved from
Portland to Salem in 1854.
became a partner in Fleischner Mayer & Co.
in Portland, a wholesale house and the largest
Jewish business in the
[Lowenstein, p. 7]
almost 30 years older than the Hirsches of
Meier & Frank and White Stag, and was not
born in the
same town in
Germany as the White Stag Hirsches.
states that Solomon was not related to the
Hirsches involved in Meier & Frank.
[Lowenstein, p. 44]
Hirsch was born in Hohenbach or Holbach,
Wurtemburg, Germany 25 March 1839. His father
was Sampson Hirsch,
the Boland Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by
andyhirschman. Solomon arrived in the USA in
passport application of 1889 in New York. He
stated on the application that he lived in
Portland, OR from 1854 to 1889.
There is a
note on his passport application indicating
that Solomon became naturalized in Circuit
Court, Marion County, Oregon, April 1862.
Solomon married Josephine Mayer in Portland.
Josephine was the daughter of Jacob Mayer and
was the son of Aaron Mayer. The Mayers
were from Bavaria, lived in Louisiana in the
1840s, then San Francisco,
by about 1860. Jacob Mayer was an import
In the 1880
Census, Solomon was a dry goods merchant.
Their children were Ella, Sanford, May/Mai and
Solomon, a merchant, was planning a trip
"abroad" for about a year.
In the 1900
Census, Solomon was a wholesale merchant.
Their nephew, Sampson, ab. 1871, born in
with them. He was a salesman in a store, and
so was Solomon's son, Sanford. They had three
servants living with them:
a cook and a waiter.
in 1902 and was buried in Beth Israel
Cemetery, Block 22, Section 2, Plot 3.
died 1924, and was buried in Beth Israel
Cemetery, Block 22, Section 2, Plot 2.
say Solomon died elsewhere, but that might be
because his obituary appeared in several
explains why Solomon left the country in
1889: He was appointed a US minister to
Harrison, and served three years.
also says he was prominent in Republican
politics and was a candidate for US Senator.
For many years he was a member of the
goods firm of "Fleischmner, Meyer & Co."
was posted in the Kansas Weekly Capital
(Topeka, Kansas), 16 December 1902, page 2,
12 September 2020.
The dry goods
firm was probably FLEISCHNER & MAYER,
established in 1875.
Mayer & Co.'s principal founders were
Louis Fleischner, Jacob Mayer and Solomon
Hirsch. [Lowenstein, p. 41]
entered the business and became prominent
Hirsch's son, Sanford Hirsch:
born in Portland 17 Oct. 1872. In New York, in
1891, Sanford applied for a passport.
In the 1905
Portland directory, Sanford was a department
manager at Fleischner-Mayer & Co.
In 1910 and
1920, he was single, living with his mother,
Josephine, and his sisters.
Sanford was a
wholesale dry goods merchant, an employer.
2 November 1929 [Oregon Death Index, cited in
Mayer was born in Bechtheim, Germany in
1826. He arrived in New Orleans in 1842,
married, started a family;
he went to
San Francisco, California in 1850, lured by
the gold rush. He started a dry goods store in
organize the first B'nai B'rith lodge on the
Pacific Coast, and founded the First Hebrew
Francisco. Mayer came to Portland 1857 to open
his City of Paris dry goods store. He was a
Congregation Beth Israel, and was later its
president. He sometimes performed marriages.
Mayer helped found a
chapter and First Hebrew Benevolent
Association in Portland. He helped start the
Oregon Historical Society.
He was in the
Masons. and reached 33rd degree Mason, and the
Oregon Grand Master. In 1875, he merged his
Fleischner & Co., to created Fleischner,
Mayer & Co. His partner in the company,
Solomon Hirsch, married
daughter, Josephine. Mayer's son, Mark,
managed the company's New York office. Jacob
Mayer died in 1908. [Lowenstein, p. 41-43]
From Men of
Chamber of Commerce Bulletin, 1911, cited in
Fleischner was born in Portland, OR on 5
October, 1862. He was a member of
Fleischner, Mayer & Co., wholesale dry
He was a
member of the Fire Commission under Mayor
Lane for three years. He was the President
of the Concordia Club for seven years.
Fleischner was born in Vogelsang,
Bohemia in 1827, as Levi Fleischner. He left
home at fifteen and changed his name to Louis.
from New York in 1849 with his brother, Jacob,
traveling overland. They stopped in Iowa for
three years and ran a general store.
They came to
Albany, Oregon in 1852, and started one of the
first general merchandise stores in town.
Louis was called "Colonel" Fleischer,
volunteered to fight in the Rogue River Indian
War in Southern Oregon, 1855-56. Louis came to
Portland 1864 and joied
Hirsch and Alexander Schlussel in forming a
partnership called L. Fleischner & Co. He
was elected state treasurer 1870-74.
establish Temple Beth Israel building in 1888.
Louis never married.
Biographical Index Card File: Pioneer
Index, card 21 of 2618, Ancestry.com:
Fleischner was born in 1859 in Albany, Oregon.
He was the son of Jacob and Fanny, and nephew
of Colonel Louis Fleischner.
Tessie Golinsky in San Francisco in 1897. His
occupation was the dry goods company, Fleischner-Mayer
The card says
Isaac was prominent in charities and musical
circles, and was the father of Elise and
Newton] Fleischner died in Portland 4 December
1927, and was buried next to Tessie
Israel Cemetery. [JewishGen Online Worldwide
Loewenberg was born [in Posen, Poland/Prussia, per
Lowenstein p. 68, 83] in 1833. The 1880 Census
says Julius was born about 1840 in Oregon, and was a
"fine stone merchant."
Lowenstein described Julius' life on page 83.
Julius arrived in New York at age 14, about 1847.
He came to Oregon several years later and ran pack
trains to the mining camps in Idaho. Julius and
Bertha Kuhn married in San Francisco in 1871, then
settled in Portland, Oregon. Julius was in the
hardware business, then founded the Northwest Fire
and Marine Insurance Company, and became president
of the Merchants National Bank.
wife, Bertha, was born about 1843 in Bavaria.
Their children in 1880 were Ida, born about 1873,
Zerlina born about 1874, Rosa, born about 1876,
and Sydney, born about 1879. Bertha's
mother, Sophia Kuhn, born about 1814 in Bavaria.
Sophia's child [?] Paulina Kuhn, born about 1857
in Germany, and Cuque [?] born about 1865 in
China, were listed as servants. Bertold Goldsmith,
Julius' nephew, born about 1864 in California,
parents born in Bavaria, also lived with them.
Bertold was not employed. They lived at 123 W.
By 1890, the Portland directory listed Julius as
Vice-President of Merchants National Bank and and
President of Northwest F&M Insurance
Julius built a new home for the family. Lowenstein
on page 65 and 83 described the house as a
"splendid" great 32-room mansion. It was at the
east entrance to Washington Park, modeled on a
Prussian castle Julius had admired in boyhood. The
house had marble baths and sinks, and the finest
furnishings from Europe. The house was completed
in 1893 and was razed in 1960.
There was an economic depression in 1897. Julius
became overextended. [Lowenstein, p. 83]
Julius Loewenberg died in Portland in 1899, and
was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery. The family had
to move from the great house into a hotel.
[Lowenstein, p. 83]
The Portland directory of 1901, found in
Ancestry.com, listed Bertha as the widow of
Julius. She lived at 292 10th. Living at the same
address: Miss Ida, a stenographer for
Loewenberg & Going Co., Miss Rose, Sidney B.
Loewenberg of Loewenberg & Going Co., and Miss
Loewenberg & Going Co.: Alvin C. Going,
President, Robert B. Fleming (Salem)
Vice-President, James W. Going, Secretary and
Treasurer, Stoves and Household Hardware, 229-235
World War I Draft Registration, Sidney Berthold
Loewenberg stated he was a clerk for General
Electric Company, at the Electric Building,
Portland, Multnomah, Oregon. His mother, Bertha,
lived at same address as Sidney, 742 Hoyt St.,
Portland. [Posted in Ancestry.com]
Ida, Zerlina and Sidney never married. Ida
dedicated her life to the Neighborhood House and
civic organizations. Zerlina dedicated her life
to the South Portland Library and civic
Rose married Joseph Goodman in 1903; their
children were Bertha and Gladys. Joseph Goodman
owned a wholesale shoe business in 1910. Joseph
died in Portland on 4 August 1939, per the
Oregon Death Index, posted in Ancestry.com.
Bertha Doris Goodman married Leon Albert
Goldsmith in Portland in February 1930. He was a
medical doctor, a general practitioner. They had
a daughter, Nancy H., born about 1938. Nancy
married John M. Myers in 1959. [Ancestry.com
Gladys Goodman married Isaac Trachtenberg in
Portland in January 1946. Isaac Nathaniel
Trachtenberg had been a Sargent in the US Army
from 1944-45. He was born in Jerusalem,
Palestine. He had lived in the USA from 1912 to
1933, in Brooklyn, NYC, NY and Portland, OR. He
went to live in Palestine in 1933. He married
Margery Carolyn Schwartz in Jerusalem in 1933.
They had a child, Ida Jeanette, born 1937 in
Tel-Aviv, Palestine. Isaac was an
agriculturalist, an agronomist. In the 1940
Census, Isaac, Margery and Ida lived in Lake
Grove, Clackamas, Oregon. Margery died in
Clackamas County, Oregon on 31 May 1945. Ida
married Richard Alan Hargrave in Portland in
Gladys Goodman Trachtenberg was notable. A brief
article in Oregon Jewish Life posted
January 2016, Vol. 4/Issue 10, says that Gladys
lived 1910 to 1993. She graduated from Oregon
State University and attended Western Reserve
University in Cleveland. Gladys worked at the
Neighborhood House for several years, then
worked for several years at Dammasch State
Hospital, the state mental hospital, in
Wilsonville. The article was based on oral
interviews with Gladys, posted at the Oregon
Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust
The museum article mentions that Gladys met
Isaac at OSU in 1930, but she was not ready to
marry; Isaac and his first wife had two
children. Isaac and Gladys added two more
children to the family. This article also adds
that Gladys served as president of the Jewish
Historical Society of Oregon.
In the 1930 Census, the Loewenbergs lived on N.
20th St. Sidney B. Loewenberg was the head of
household; he was a sales agent for General
Electric Company. Ida was the Head Worker at
Neighborhood House. Zerlina was the branch
librarian at the public library. Next door were
Joseph Goodman, no longer working, and his
family: Rose and Gladys.
In the 1940 Census, Ida, Zerlina, Rose and "Glady"
lived together on Route 6. [Oregon Route 6 became
OR 8 and US 26. The part of Route 6 within
Portland is Jefferson-Columbia Street.] Ida was
the head of household. Ida was a settlement worker
at the Neighborhood House, a paid worker. Zerlina
was a librarian at a city library, a paid worker.
Rose was a widow; "Glady"/Gladys was her daughter.
Ida Loewenberg and an early group of Jewish women
began the Portland Chapter of the National Council
of Jewish Women, and Neighborhood House, the
community center. The Neighborhood House began in
1905. Ida was hired as its first Head Worker in
1912. Ida remained at the Neighborhood House until
her retirement in 1945 at age 73.
Julius' widow, Bertha, died in 1927. Sidney died
in 1938. Ida died in 1949. Rose
Loewenberg Goodman died in 1954. Zerlina died in
Jacob Mayer was one of the founders of the
wholesale dry goods firm of Fleischner, Mayer
& Co., established in 1875. The others were
Louis Fleischner and Solomon Hirsch.
Jacob Mayer was the first of the three founders to
arrive in Portland. Jacob was born in Bechtheim,
Germany in 1826, the son of Aaron. He arrived in
New Orleans in 1842 at the age of sixteen. He
stayed there for eight years, marrying Mary
Auerbach and starting a family. The lure of gold
in California motivated him to go West. The family
sailed from New Orleans to Panama, crossed the
Isthmus of Panama, then sailed for San Francisco.
The trip took over four months, and was very
difficult. They ran out of food; Jacob had to buy
a barrel of sea biscuits from a
Boston ship for $800, which was all he had.
Jacob established a dry goods store in San
Francisco, with goods he had shipped before their
Jacob helped organize the first B'nai B'rith lodge
on the Pacific Coast, and founded the First Hebrew
Benevolent Society of San Francisco.
In 1857, Jacob came to Portland to open his City
of Paris dry goods store. He was a charter member
of Congregation Beth Israel, and later was its
president. If the Rabbi was unavailable, he
performed marriage ceremonies. He helped found a
B'nai B'rith and the First Hebrew Benevolent
Association in Portland. He helped to start the
Oregon Historical Society. He joined the Masons,
reached 33rd degree Mason, and was Oregon Grand
Josephine was born about 1848 in New Orleans.
Clementine Mayer was born about 1849 in New
Benjamin was born about 1851 in San Francisco.
Bertha was born about 1853 in San Francisco.
Rosa was born about 1856 in San Francisco.
Marcus/Mark was born about 1858 in Portland.
In 1875, Jacob Meyer merged his business
with Louis Fleischner and Solomon Hirsch, called
L. Fleischner & Co.
Jacob's oldest daughter, Josephine, married
Solomon Hirsch in 1870. Their children were Ella,
Sanford, May and Clementine. Josephine died in
1924 and was buried at Beth Israel Cemetery.
Clementine married Oscar R. Meyer in 1879 in
Portland, per the Boland Family Tree in Ancestry,
owned by andyhirschman. They lived in San
Francisco. Clementine was enumerated in a hotel in
San Francisco in 1920, listed as a widow. She died
in San Francisco in 1924.
Benjamin died in 1877 in San Francisco, and
was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery in
Bertha married Herman Zadig in 1881, per the
1900 Census. They lived in San Francisco. They
had two sons, Martin B., 1887-1890, and Alfred
James, born in 1882 in California. Bertha died
in 1920. Herman died 1927.
Alfred married Anita Marie Rhea in 1913.
Alfred died in 1937.
Rosa married Moses Blum in Portland in 1885.
They lived in San Francisco. Moses was born in
New Orleans. Moses
died 22 June 1918. Rosa died 18 August
Moses and Rosa had a son, James B. Blum, born
about 1891. James was married to Martha __
from 1912 to 1918. When Moses died in 1918, he
left $10,000 to Martha. James married Erma
Stivers in 1919. James and Erma had James B.
Blum, Jr., Rosemarie K. and Shirley Jane.
James died 1970 in Oakland, CA.
James Blum has a Simon Blum Family
Tree in Ancestry. James wrote a note that James's
first wife, Martha, inherited $50,000 from her
mother-in-law, Rosa Mayer Blum.
Mark, managed the store's New York office from
1891 to about 1910, although he always had a
listing in the Portland directory. In 1910 Census,
he was enumerated in Portland, lodging at the
Morrison Hotel. He was single. Mark died in
Portland in 1937, and was buried in Beth Israel
Jacob Mayer died 31 December, 1908, and was buried
in Beth Israel Cemetery.
Mary Auerbach Mayer died in 1911 and was buried in
Beth Israel Cemetery.
Sources: Lowenstein, p. 41-2
Oregon Secretary of State, State Archives/Early
MEIER & FRANK
& Frank became a very successful department
store. Here is the story of its founders.
Meier was born in Ellerstadt, Bavaria in 1831. His
father was Abraham, and mother was Rebecka [per
Ancestry.com Steiner 10 tree, owned by nedsteiner]
His two brothers, Julius and Emanuel operated a
general merchandise store in Downieville,
California. Aaron came to the US to help his
brothers in the store, and peddled goods deep into
Oregon territory for two years. He took a steamer
1857: Aaron opened a small dry goods and
clothing store on Front Street, Portland, with
partners N. Simon and Nathan Meerholtz. At the
time, Portland had about 1,300 people and 42
stores that sold dry goods and groceries.
1863: Aaron returned to Ellerstadt to visit
his mother, and married Jeanette Hirsch there.
Jeanette was the daughter of Moses, a grain buyer.
The Meiers and Hirsches knew each other well.
Aaron received his share of the Meier family
estate, which was about $14,000.
1864: On their way back from Bavaria, Aaron
spent most of the money on goods in New York. When
they got to Portland, Aaron learned that his
little store had gone bankrupt. Aaron reopened a
larger store across the street.
1865: Aaron and Jeanette's first child,
Fannie, was born. Aaron built a house at Third
1868: Abraham/Abe was born.
Aaron and Jeanette sent for relatives to come to
Portland and work in the store: Jeanette's
half-brothers, cousins and nephews.
1870: Aaron went on a buying trip to San
Francisco, and met Emil Frank.
1871: Hattie was born.
1873: Emil Frank came to Portland and became
Aaron Meier's partner. Emil's brother, Sigmund
Frank, a musician, followed Emil to Portland.
much of downtown Portland, including the store.
Daughter, Hattie died.
1874: Meier & Frank new store on the
other side of Front Street was built of brick, and
covered the whole block. Julius was born.
1885: Aaron and Jeanette's daughter, Fannie,
married Sigmund Frank. The children of these two
families would help build Meier & Frank into a
A new, larger building was completed on Taylor,
between First and Second.
1887: Sigmund replaced his brother, Emil, as
the principal partner in Meier & Frank. [In
1888, Emil went into business with Louis Blumauer,
forming Blumauer and Frank, a large wholesale drug
company, which was later sold to McKesson Robins.]
1889: Aaron Meier died.
1894: The Willamette River flooded much of
downtown with three feet of water. The store
remained open, using rowboats to bring customers
to the store. Inside, there were plank walks
constructed above the water line.
1898: Meier & Frank erected a
five-story, modern building with two elevators at
Fifth Avenue between Alder and Morrison.
1909: Meier & Frank store added a
1910: Sigmund Frank died. Abe Meier took
over as president. Julius Meier, a lawyer, became
the general Manager. But Jeanette was the real
1914: The Fifth Avenue store was demolished,
and a sixteen-story, terra-cotta building was
completed. It was Portland's first "skyscraper,"
and was the fourth largest department store in the
USA at the time.
1922: Meier & Frank's radio station,
KFEC, broadcast from a studio on the fifth floor.
The antenna was on the roof. The future actor,
Clark Gable, worked at the store selling neckties.
1925: Jeanette Hirsch Meier died.
1930: Abe Meier died. Julius Meier became
president of the store. That year, he was elected
governor of Oregon.
1932: The building became larger.
1937: Julius Meier died. Aaron Frank became
1964: Aaron Frank was removed as president.
His son, Gerry, was also removed as vice-president
and Salem store manager. The Franks sold their
shares to Edward William Carter of the
Broadway-Hale chain. Julius Meyer's son, Jack, sold
the Meiers' shares to the May Company.
1966: Carter and the Broadway-Hale stores
sold their shares to May Company. Meier &
Frank stores became part of May Company, a
national chain. [Lowenstein,
continues the saga:
& Frank maintained a buying office in New York
pioneered the concept of a money-back guarantee.
Its' wagons, then trucks, would deliver to homes
in Portland, no matter how small the purchase.
World War II, Meier & Frank took out full page
ads in The Oregonian for 1,207 days to
raise money for War Bonds.
Company operated Meier & Frank as a separate
division for nearly forty years.
2002: May Company consolidated its operation
2005: Federated Department Stores, parent
company of Macy's, acquired Robinson-May.
2006: Federated merged and renamed all the
2007: Federated changed its name to Macy's.
The downtown Portland store was remodeled.The
lower five floors and basement were a Macy's
store. The upper nine floors became a luxury
hotel, The Nines.
2017: Macy's downtown store closed. The
Nines hotel took over the whole building. It is
owned by Marriott.
photo is from Wikipedia:
This was suggested by Hazel Dakers, London, UK.
RETURN TO SURNAME LIST
Hazel has a website:
Hazel gave permission to post on this page:
accessed on 12 December 2020.
Most of this information came from an article at
supplemented by records in Ancestry.com.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Ovsovitz was born in 1879,
probably in Kovno. He arrived in New York in 1904.
He was a Rabbi in Denver, Colorado,
where he married Riva or Rivka Kramer in 1908. For
a few years, he was a Rabbi in Portland, Oregon.
In the 1910 Census, Rabbi Abraham and Mrs.
Ovsovitz lived at 230 Sheridan in Portland, OR.
The city directory for 1910 states
that he was the Rabbi at Congregation Shaarie
Shaarie Torah was organized in 1902, as a
synagogue, the first one in the Northwest. It met
in a building at First and Hall.
In 1905, the congregation purchased a church
building, and moved it to its location at First
Shaarie Torah became Portland's preeminent
Orthodox synagogue, and was known as the "First
[Lowenstein, Steven, p, 104-5]
The city directory for Denver, Colorado for 1906
lists Abraham I. Ovsovitz, Rev., Rabbi
Congregation Kasher Ahavo, and he resided at 1555
Haskell Ovsovitz, Rev, was a Rabbi at Congregation
Zera Abraham, and also resided at 1555 Clay.
Haskel was listed as a Rabbi in Denver from 1901
until 1912. This was Abraham's father.
Yechezkel/Haskel Yehoshua Ovsovitz was born in
in Kovno, and died in Denver 15 October 1913. He
had recently applied for a passport on 27 May
1912. He stated he arrived in the USA in 1894,
and had lived in Trenton, New Jersey, then Fall
River, Massachusetts and arrived in Denver,
Colorado on 12 October 1900.
He signed his name "Hockel." He is in the Abromson
Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by SABromsonLeeman.
performed the marriage ceremony for Abraham and
Abraham and Rivka/Celia's children shortened
their surname to Ovson. [Ancestry.com]
In the 1910 Census, Rivka was called Rachel.
Abraham was 29; Rachel was 23. They had no
children. Rachel's brother, age 20, lived with
The Cristil Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by
rhiller137, has Abraham and Rivka. Their children
were Sarah, born and died in 1912, Deborah
1913-1997, and Joshua Jess 1914-2004. The tree
states that Abraham's father was Yechezkel
Yehoshva "Joshua" Ovsovitz,
and mother was Chana Dina Crystal.
In September 1918, Abraham registered for the WWI
Draft. They lived at 1332 N. 7th St.,
Abraham died on 16 December 1918, from Spanish
Influenza, after helping a congregant who was ill.
[per family history].
Rivka/Celia lived with her parents in
Philadelphia; she was called "Sallie" on the 1920
Census. Rivka/Celia remarried
Chaim Jehudah Simon in Philadelphia in 1924. Celia
died in 1952. [Ancestry.com]
[Kevarim link and Ancestry.com accessed on 12
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It is said that Philip and Caroline Auerbach
Selling were the first Jewish bride and groom
who married in San Francisco, California [about
In the 1860 Census, Philip was 34, born in 1825.
Caroline was 26, born about 1831-4. Both were
born in Bavaria.
They had two children: Bernard, eight, so
born in 1852, and Simon, six, born about 1854.
There is a tree in Ancestry.com, Jewish Saar,
owned by rupertle. It says that Philip and
Caroline also had Gertrude about 1858 and
Augustina Gussie in 1862.
Philip was a merchant. He set up a tent and sold
goods to the gold miners who came to California
in 1849 and Oregon in 1852.
The merchants moved from mining camp to mining
camp, following the fortunes of the gold miners.
In 1862, the Sellings came to Portland, Oregon,
and opened a small store on Morrison St.
[Lowenstein, p. 8]
Philip died in 1908. Caroline died in 1914.
The miners paid for their goods with gold dust.
The gold dust helped fund Oregon's
transportation and development, and helped
Oregon become well-established. [Lowenstein, p.
Bernard became known as Ben. He helped in his
parents' store until 1881, when he established
Akins, Selling & Company, a boot and shoe
store. [Lowenstein p. 80] Ben married Mathilda
Tilly Hess in San Francisco in 1880.
[Ancestry.com] Their children were Rachael Rae
born 1881 and Laurence born 1882. [Ancestry.com]
Ben worked with Moyer Clothing Company. Then he
started his own store, Ben Selling Clothier, at
Fourth and Morrison. [Lowenstein, p. 80] He
joined the Concordia Club, a Jewish social club.
[Lowenstein, p. 68]
Ben was a
philanthropist. He helped
defend the Chinese quarter from threatened
attacks by mobs seeking to expel the Chinese
from Portland. [Lowenstein p. 21] He was a
great fundraiser. He was the treasurer of the
First Hebrew Benevolent Association, and
belonged to the Jewish Relief Society. Ben
raised money to help survivors of the Kishinev
pogrom, Jewish war sufferers in WWI, Chinese
flood victims, Japanese famine victims, and
Armenians in need of relief. He purchased War
Bonds and sold them to less fortunate people; he
assisted with the Neighborhood House and B'nai
B'rith. He established the Working Men's Club to
feed men for five cents a meal; by 1914, it
served 800 meals a day. [Lowenstein p. 56,
Starting about 1880, a wave of Jewish immigrants
from Eastern Europe came to the USA. There were
so many in New York City, that, in 1900, the
Industrial Removal Office [IRO] was set up in
New York to relocate some immigrants to less
populous towns. Ben helped the IRO bring 858
Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Portland.
He encouraged relatives to reunite with
relatives. He, along with Ida Loewenberg and
Rabbi Stephen Wise, helped bridge the cultural
gap between the old, established German Jews and
the new Eastern European Jews, and helped
newcomers feel welcome. [Lowenstein, p. 79]
Ben became an elected official. He served as
president of the Oregon Senate in 1911. He ran
for US Senator in 1912, but did not win.
He became Speaker of the House in Oregon in
1915. He helped establish the Portland Dock
Commission. [Lowenstein p. 60]
Ben died in 1931. Tilly died in 1941. Rachel
died in 1976. Laurence died in 1964.
15 October 2020
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The Stampfers are a
family of rabbis.
They were originally
from Stampfen, Hungary, now Stupava, Slovakia.
helped establish Petach-Tikva in Palestine in
1878. He died in 1907.
His son, Saloman I.,
was born in New York City in 1881. His wife was
They had a son,
Elihu/Elijah/Eli David, born 1901 in
Elihah came to New
York City, was a rabbi in Memphis, Tennessee,
then Akron, Ohio. His wife was Nahama Frank.
Nahama died in an automobile accident in 1939.
They had two sons,
Joshua and Judah, both born in Jerusalem.
Elijah died in Los
Angeles in 1962.
Joshua was born 28
December 1921, and came to the USA as a child.
The family was in Memphis, Tennessee around
1929-31, then lived in Akron, Ohio during World
War II. Joshua married Goldie in 1944. They
moved to Portland, Oregon in 1953. He was the
rabbi at Ahavai Sholom/Congregation Neveh Shalom
from 1953 to 1993. He founded Camp Solomon
Schechter near Tumwater, Washington. He
established the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center
and the Institute for Judaic Studies. He
established the Oregon Jewish Historical Society
and helped found the Oregon Jewish Museum. He
taught at Portland State University and helped
inspire the creation of its Judaic Studies
degree. He and Goldie had five children. Their
son, Noam, died in a bicycle accident in 2001.
Goldie died in 2016. Their remaining children
live in Israel, Boston, Ann Arbor and Portland.
Rabbi Joshua Stampfer died on 26 December 2019
at the age of 97, and was buried with Goldie and
Noam at Ahavai Sholom Cemetery, Portland, OR.
Jerusalem, Israel, Yehoshua
Stampfer and the Stampfer Family, excerpted from Shalshelet newsletter
of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon,
Summer 2004 Edition, Volume 13, archived at
JGSO, accessed on Oct 12, 2020.
Ancestry.com on Oct. 12, 2020.
Lowenstein, Steven, The Jews of
Oregon 1850-1950, page 214
Linda Kelley, October
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Subotnik's story, "My Great-Grandfather's
Immigration from Vilna," is posted on the Jewish
Genealogical Society of Oregon's website at:
[If you leave this page to read Jennifer's story,
use the back arrow in your browser to return to
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Joan Teller's story, "My Pioneers" is posted
on the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon's
leave this page to read Joan's story, use the
back arrow in your browser to return to this
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Eisenberg, Ellen, Embracing a
Western Identity, Jewish
Oregonians 1849-1950, Oregon State
University Press, Corvallis, Oregon, with
Worldwide Burial Registry
Lowenstein, Steven, The Jews of
Oregon 1850-1950, Jewish Historical
Society of Oregon, Portland, Oregon, 1987, with
Chamber of Commerce Bulletin, 1911, cited in
Biographical Index Card File: Pioneer
Index, card 21 of 2618, Ancestry.com
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
accessed 6 Sept. 2020