Below is a piece that Ethel Max Parker wrote on the Zions and Maxes back in 1964. It is typewritten manually, and I retyped it in basically the same fashion with same mistakes as she originally typed it. Here is information on the first Jewish settlers in Sheboygan.
Steve Bensman



Her mother, Lesha Goldberg, was a milliner in Riga, Latvia, circa the American Civil War. Cousin Esther Goldberg Hiller remembers being told that Lesha was married at 17 to a young man who later developed T.B. The young husband advised his wife that a divorce was advisable --she would be completely subject to his oldest brother in case of his death. Reluctantly they went through the Jewish ritual divorce. She went back to her millinery shop. He died later. It was many years later--at age 35--that she consented to a match with a young Odessa, Russia, Hebrew scholar--Aaron Zion--who was also a gold-and-silver smith.
They had five children, three boys and two girls. One girl died in infancy. The children were Samuel, Abraham, Jacob, and Tobie Ghita (the latter Americanized her name to Jennie because of the popularity of Jennie Lind during the period.)
Aaron's half brother was a Becker. This is all that we know of the grandfather's branch of the family. Threatened by the Russian draft late in the 1870s, Aaron and Lesha packed up their four surviving children, all toddlers and infants, and in the late '70s or early '80s followed Lesha's eldest brother Goldberg to the United States. Lesha had saved 1,500 rubles. She paid for a cabin room on the ship to avoid the steerage. Immigration authorities gave a much less rigorous examination to cabin passengers.
Arrived in the U.S., the family headed for Ludington, Mich., where "Grossma's" eldest brother had established a clan. There were Blumenstocks, Hillers, Goldbergs, Steins, apparently inter-related or about to become interrelated through marriages. Hillers and Steins and Blumenstocks remained in Ludington. Abraham Mones Goldberg, Lesha's eldest brother, suggested other areas for earning a living. Aaron and Lesha went to Milwaukee in the 1880s, but Mrs. Max recalls that her mother told her that Jews in Milwaukee seemed to be lax in their obsevance of the faith, so she and her husband decided to settle in Sheboygan, which had a heavy settlement of Germans, and no other orthodox Jews so no "bad" example could be set for the growing children. They arrived in Sheboygan circa 1882.
It was necessary for the Zions to have German neighbors since Mrs. Zion never learned English--spoke Riga German to her milliner customers. Aaron got a job with a Sheboygan jeweler, Grasse, but since he could not work on the Sabbath, (Friday night and Saturday until sundown) they let him go as soon as they found another goldsmith.
He peddled dry goods in the Sheboygan area and Lesha ran their millinery shop--they bought an old building on Eighth St.--1208 N. Eighth St. (in 1977 the rebuilt northern portion of Kuechle's Furniture store.)
Lesha's younger brother, Moses, followed them to Sheboygan. He was the father of Mose, Abe, and Mollie Goldberg. Mose and Abe formed a nightclub team in the early 1900s of Goldberg and Wayne, told ethnic humor with Mose as the Jew and Abe as the Irishman. Mose also composed the first song about Sheboygan (S-H-E makes a preety little she; B-O-Y is a boy; G-A-N say it over again, and that spells SHE-BOY-GAN.) He taught himself to play on an old piano in his father's second hand store. They (Goldberg & Wayne) were popular as night club entertainers until Moe's death in the early 1940s.
Mollie became a buyer for a Chicago department store (Marshall Fields). All married, two outside the faith, left no descendants.
Aaron's brother founded a Becker family in Brooklyn, date unknown.
Lesha's sister, Shana Breinah Chaya, married a Widgerson. They had a son who married outside the faith, and a third generation Widgerson, Martin, ran for Attorney General of Wisconsin as a Republican in the 1950s, sued The Capital Times for libel for a joke on its bulletin board at a time when his distant cousin, Ethel Max Parker, was married to the then city editor, Cedric Parker. Neither of the cousins knew of the distant relationship at the time. The suit was dropped after the election.
Yetta Goldberg, another sister, married a Blumenstock. Their daughter was Rachel Deborah and a son was a jeweler in Chicago. Another sister married a Hiller, founded a Milwaukee family. The cousins kept in touch for a time, but drifted apart. Mrs. Hiller, mother of Milwaukee & Luddington Hillers, died in the Sheboygan home of her niece, Mrs. Max.
MAYER MAX WAS BORN IN WHAT IS NOW RUSSIA, WAS THEN RUMANIA; BESSARABIA.He was one of five brothers. One sister. HIS Parents were Kalman and Hannah, but their last name has been lost. His older brothers, Ezra (eldest) and William migrated to London, England, sent for Mayer, trained him as a business man. Then all came to the United States in the late 1880s. Mayer came to Sheboygan in 1890 at about the time other Orthodox Jews settled there, mostly Holmans. Jennie had been the only Jewish girl in Sheboygan for a number of years, and attended Lincoln school on Niagara ave from the kindergarten until the third or fourth grade, at which time her parents decided she had had enough school for a girl.
Abe and Sam were early dropouts, but Jake went to high school and was an "artist" for the high school newspaper, the Lake Breeze. Anti-semitism was hot and heavy in Sheboygan at that time, and Jake learned to fight. He took to the vaudeville stage with his brother Abe, giving boxing exhibitions, got into a poker game with a young man from Appleton named Weiss. The two young men were stranded in Pt. Washington, 27 miles from Sheboygan, penniless after the game, walked home. Young Weiss became known years later as the Great Houdini.
When Mayer got to Sheboygan, Jennie was 13 years old. Her mother refused permission for a marriage until Jennie was 19 (1896) for fear that at 20 she'd be an old maid.
Mayer's two brothers set up a chain of stores in Sheboygan and neighboring cities and Jake, Sam, and Abe helped operate them. During the panic of 1907, notes that the brothers had had Mayer sign were called in, and Mayer had to declare bankrupcy. He paid up all his legitimate debts, but refused to honor the inflated notes. (Source: Mr. Oetking, who had been with the German-American bank at the time and advised Mr. Max. Lesha Zion had been requesting funds for living expenses--so she said,--and Mayer, a loving son-in-law, had always giving her and Aaron needed living expenses. After the bankrupcy, Lesha gave him back the $3.000 she had acaquired over the period, a stake to start back in business. He was renting the Woolworth location, now owned by H.C. Prange Co., on New York Ave. & 8th St. The bank suggested he buy a vacant property across the street. He opened it as the Columbia Clothing Store and operated it until 1929. He then retired and rented out the property which, until razed for the Sheboygan Public Library and Mall, was operated by the Kress Hertel Co.
1919--Mayer Max visits Palestine with son, Mose, returns with reports that the "Homeland" of the Balfour Declaration is promising country.
1920 (circa)--Aaron, Lesha Zion and Julius Max leave to make Palestine their home.
1921--Julius dies. (Dr. Robert Goldberg Hiller afterwards diagnoses malaria.)
1925--Mayer and Jennie Max, taking Abe (H.S. Freshman) & Kalman, visit Palestine.
1926--They return when Celia announces engagement to Frank Horwitz, leave the boys in Palestine with Aaron and Lesha.
1928--Mayer and Jennie, with Ethel (Madison newspaperwoman) go to Palestine for a "visit."
1929--Ethel returns, borrow passage money for Abe's return, returns to her own newspaper work. Oscar has handled business affairs (real estate) during parents' absence. Abe returns to high school, finishes in a year and a half.
1930--Mayer and Jennie return to Sheboygan, Sarah and Abe enroll in UW
('31) -- parents, disturbed by breaking up of family, explore living costs in Madison, find them too high, return to Sheboygan.
1932--After inviting each child in Sheboygan to come to Palestine with them, they leave alone for Palestine to be with Aaron and Lesha and Kalman.
1933--Ethel loses newspaper job. Sarah drops out of school. Abe gets research assistantship with Prof. Oliver Watts, UW., marries Alice Seltzer.
1935--Mose appointed WPA adminstrator in Milwaukee, Oscar becomes head of Sheboygan Dry Goods men's clothing department. Ethel takes over as manager of house and real estate. Sarah marries Dr. Matthew Drosdoff. Rachel enrolls in UW.
1937--World War II--Lesha and Aaron die in Jerusalem. Mayer and Jennie in Tiberias for baths during Italian air raid in 1939. Sea travel dangerous. They remain in Jerusalem. Kalman marries Esther Horowitz in Jerusalem. Oscar (1941) marries Ruth Sinaiko in Iowa. Miriam marries Julius Schrager in Madison. 1951---Rachel marries Louis Ottenberg, Jr.
During the war and post war period, Mayer, Jennie, Kalman, Esther and their children are in the midst of both war and later, the Israeli war for a homeland. Kalman was a proofreader on the Palestine Post when it was blown up - Jennie wrote home that splinters of glass penetrated face and hair. This period might be recalled by Kalman and Esther.
1952--Mayer loses his 1890 naturalization through failure to contact U.S. Consulate--He and Jennie return under a vistor's visa expedited by Rachel and Lou's family, and arranged by Tony Stiglitz of the Security Nat'l Bank in Sheboygan.
1956--Mayer dies, age 87. (Sheboygan Memorial Hospital)
1964--Jennie dies, age 87. (St. Nicholas Hospital)
1976--Oscar dies, aged 76 (Madison Methodist Hospital)
Oscar operated the Madison Wilson Hotel with his wife's family. Son, bMichael David, Ph.D., (Trinity College, Dublin) on Irish National Geological Survey. Daughter, Deborah Ann, Boston artist (M.F.A., U. Of Cincinnati.)
Ethel, wife of Cedric Parker, retired managing editor, Madison Capital Times. (Ethel in Who's Who of American Women as journalist and Red Cross official.)
Cecelia, mother of five, grandmother of six, married to Frank Horowitz, retired Sheboygan inventor of industrial machinery and head of manufacturing company.
Hannah, wife of Paul L. Bieles, Chicago publisher, mother of Richard M. Bieles, dental surgeon (Northwestern University) and grandmother of five.
Moses-retiring with the rank of major from the U.S. Army, UW B.A. In Commerce, father of three, married to Rachel Kaplin Max. D. Judy--U.S. Army; S.Mayer & Rob.
Abraham Mones--retired RCA director of research, and professor emeritus of Purdue University, married to Alice Seltzer, parents of David, Israeli psychologist (M.A. Hebrew U.), Arthur, A.P. Correspondent in Tel Aviv. Grandparents of Dafne and Ronnie (David & Deborah's children) Adam and Liza, (Arthur's, Jean's) and one daughter, Rachel Beth, sociologist, all in Israel.
Sarah--married to Matthew Drosdoff, professor emeritus of soils, Cornell U., awarded the American Agronomy International award for his service in many countries for the U.S. government, mother of two (Ruth Ann, married to Prof. of Art Martin Tucker, U. Cinn. (2 children) and Daniel, married to Cecilia Balagnese, (Dan is UPI correspondent in Puerto Rico.) The Tuckers have a son, Ethan, and a daughter, Ellen.
Rachel - married to Louis Ottenberg, Jr.--Washington, D.C. Journalist and business man--one daughter, Jo Ellen, jr. at Antioch college.
Rabbi Kalman--married to Esther Horowitz, five children: Arick, electronics technician; Philip (married to Nancy Hoffman) business man; Rabbi Jonathan, married to Carol Greenwald (now Chaya Chana) three children, Jehoram, rabbinical student at Yeshiva college; one daughter, Ja-el, computer expert in Israel.
Miriam--married to Julius Schrager, New Jersey biochemist and businessman, mother of three sons, Dr. Mark, married to Nurse Marlene Wensell, parents of a son and daughter; Howard, construction worker in Berkeley, California; Daniel, teacher of handicapped children in Cambridge, Mass.; Mindy, student at Dickinson College.
NOTE: I should be most grateful to any and all of you, my brothers and sisters, my brothers-in-law and sisters-ditto, cousins and friends for any corrections, additions, further recollections of your own that you can pass along to me to add and correct. This little bit was assembled at the request of Donald Horwitz's wife, Ruth, so that Stuart could have some additional information on the Max-Zion side of the family. The Horwitz branch he'll have to get from his granddad or uncle.
Send any additional information to Ethel Max Parker, Box 320, Rt 3, Madison, Wis. 53711.

Wisconsin State Journal, September 16, 1999

"Printed by permission of the Wisconsin State Journal "

September 16, 1999, Thursday,


BYLINE: William R. Wineke Wisconsin State Journal

Ethel Max Parker, 97, who in her day was one of Madison's mostncolorful personalities, died Monday.
The funeral will be at 3 p.m. today at the Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road.
Parker, a native of Sheboygan, joined the staff of The Capital Times in the 1920s as the newspaper's first general assignment reporter. At the time, few women were employed anywhere in journalism, except as society writers.
She was a 1928 graduate of the UW-Madison Journalism School and earned a master's degree in English from the university in 1951. Over the years she won three national awards for her feature writing. After leaving The Capital Times, she taught English at Sheboygan High School. She returned to Madison in 1951 to marry Cedric Parker, city editor of the newspaper. Parker died in 1978.
Though the couple were devoted to one another, their marriage began in tumultuous times. The late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., made national headlines in 1949 by suggesting that Cedric Parker was a Communist.
That was a blasphemous charge during the years of McCarthyism, but the Parkers withstood McCarthy's continual assault with good humor. Ethel Parker did not return to newspaper work when she came back to Madison. Instead, she became a volunteer for the Dane County chapter of the American Red Cross and, later, became its publications director. She served the Red Cross for 35 years.
In 1961, the Madison alumnae of Theta Sigma Phi journalism sorority awarded her its ''Writer's Cup'' for her ability to humanize and dramatize the work of the Red Cross.


Capital Times (Madison, WI.), September 15, 1999

"Printed by permission of the Capital Times (Madison, WI.) "

Copyright 1999 Madison Newspapers, Inc.

Capital Times (Madison, WI.)




BYLINE: By Mike Miller The Capital Times

Ethel Max Parker, the first woman to become a general news reporter for The Capital Times and the widow of Cedric Parker, the newspaper's late city and managing editor, died earlier this week. She would have been 98 on Oct. 2.

Mrs. Parker joined The Capital Times staff in the 1920s, just a few years after the paper's 1917 founding. While there were women employed in the ''society'' department, she was the first of her gender to cover police and government stories out of city hall.

''She was an inspiration for a lot of people,'' said John Patrick Hunter, a longtime reporter and editor at The Capital Times, now retired.

''She was a unique person in a profession where women were still trying to prove their worth,'' Hunter said.

A native of Sheboygan, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin's Journalism School in 1928 while working at the newspaper. She continued her reporting career into the 1930s.

She returned to Sheboygan to teach later in the '30s and through World War II. After the war she returned to Madison to re-enter the university, where she earned her master's degree in English and education.

In 1951, she married Cedric Parker, who was then known as the ''controversial city editor'' of The Capital Times. Parker had numerous run-ins with Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who frequently referred to the newspaperman as a communist.

Although Cedric and Ethel shared political views grounded in progressivism, their personalities were poles apart, recalled retired Capital Times reporter Owen Coyle.

''She was very much a lady, a refined lady,'' Coyle said today. ''Cedric, of course, was this loud, gregarious guy.''

Somehow, that match worked, and the two were married until Cedric Parker's death in 1978.

After her stint at The Capital Times Mrs. Parker continued to blaze trails, becoming one of the first women in public relations work in Madison.

She became the public information officer for the Dane County Chapter of the American Red Cross, but remained close to the newspaper through her husband.

Throughout her life, she served as a volunteer for several organizations and was particularly active in Theta Sigma Phi, a sorority that later became Women in Communications. The organization awarded her its Writer's Cup.


''No one could carry on a conversation about Madison and state politics better than Ethel Parker,'' said Dave Zweifel, editor of The Capital Times. ''She simply adored Cedric and the newspaper he worked for. Anyone who knew her has fond memories of her.''

Mrs. Parker, who died Monday at St. Marys Care Center, is survived by two sisters and three brothers.

A memorial service will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road.

A private burial will take place at Forest Hill Cemetery, where the Parkers' headstone has their names and dates and the epitaph ''OUR BYLINES -- 30.''

In old newsroom parlance, ''30'' means ''The End.''

Ethel Parker was a pioneer in Madison journalism.

Return to the Sheboygan Home Page

Material supplied by Stephen Bensman

Last updated on October 28, 1999