Huşi, Romania

46°41' N, 28°04' E

Alternate names: Huşi [Rom], Khush [Yid], Husch [Ger], Hussburg [Ger], Khushi [Rus], Huszváros [Hun]

Our Husi Families: Amster

Rivka Amster

Four Amster brothers — Zol, Nathan, Morris, and Sam — came to southeastern Kentucky in the late 1800s from Husi, Romania. Their parents were Isaac and Rivka Amster. Isaac (Itic sin Rahmil) was born around 1834. Rivka (Rifca) was born around 1836 in Husi. It seems likely that Rivka's surname was Amster, that Itic did not have a surname, and that the four Amster brothers used their mother's surname when they emigrated. Itic and Rivca had 12 children, of which only five, including a daughter who died at age four, survived infancy.

Isaac was a cobbler. All of the boys were trained in a craft. For instance, Sam was apprenticed to a tailor before he came to the U.S. As the eldest, Zol was the brother studying Talmud.

Isaac died of TB shortly before his youngest son was born in late 1880 or early 1881. Allyne Amster Allen told these stories:

"Isaac died two months before my father, Sam, was born. There was a folk superstition that a child who never saw his father could cure thrush by blowing down the sick person's throat. My father said he tried it on a girl once and it worked."

"When Sam was born, he was so small and weak that his mother was afraid he would die, too. There was a tradition that, if you swept the baby out the door, it would live. She swept Sam out the door and he lived."

Rivka stayed in Husi after her sons left and she died there in November 1906. (See the Documents page for a translation of her civil death record.)

Nathan Amster

Nathan Amster was born in Husi in 1868. He came to the United States about the same time as Oshai Firestein's family. Nathan Amster and Sam Firestein apparently took the advice of the dry goods mavens in Baltimore and set out for Appalachia and the end of the existing railroad spurs. They arrived in Beattyville, KY around 1888 and began pack peddling. Early on, the two men were joined in Beattyville by Morris Euster, the first of the Euster family to come from Husi and settle in southeastern Kentucky. Pack peddling proved to be the means to opening a store. That one store became many stores for all three families.

Nathan Amster was naturalized in Beattyville in 1890. But shortly after his brother, Zol, came from Husi to Beattyville in 1889, Nathan left Kentucky. He went to Montana and then Arizona. He applied what he had learned about coal mining while in Kentucky, bought leases, and quickly struck it rich in copper. By 1900, he was a wealthy man and living in Boston.

Nathan Amster was the president of several Arizona copper companies, the Globe (AZ) Light and Power Company, and a controlling stockholder of the Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company and New York City's IRT subway. He was a director on the boards of the Boston Opera Company, Mount Sinai Hospital, Federated Jewish Charities, and the Boston Newsboys Club.

Nathan married Estelle Dreyfus in 1901. (Nathan had not succeeded in escaping dry goods entirely, as Estelle was the daughter of Jacob Dreyfus, a wholesaler of men's shirts.) Nathan and Estelle had two sons: Leonard and James. Nathan died in New York City in 1939.

Sam and Zol Amster

Zalman "Zol" Amster (right) was born in Husi in 1866. He followed his brother, Nathan, to the United States in November 1889 and was naturalized in Beattyville in 1894. Perhaps Zol took over Nathan's interest in the Beattyville dry goods store when Nathan left for Montana. However, by 1898, presumably Zol had sold any interest in that store to the Eusters (the Beattyville store was advertised as a Euster-Firestein store in 1901) and had moved to central Kentucky. He owned a farm in Madison County and then Clark County. Zol married Sallie Blair. They had no children. Zol died in Winchester in 1943.

Sam Amster (left) was born in Husi in 1881. He can be found on a Hamburg-to-New York passenger list in 1896 under the name Abram Amster and with a destination of Pineville. Presumably he first went to stay with his brother, Morris. Sam was peddling north of London, KY by 1900 and then headed into central Kentucky where his brother, Zol, had settled. Sam married Minnie Thompson in Madison County in 1902. They had three children: Leon, Mabel, and Allyne. Sam owned a tobacco farm and a general store near Boonesboro. He eventually moved his family to Lexington where he opened another general store and the auto parts company his son and grandson ran. Sam died in Lexington in 1940.

Morris Amster

Morris Amster was born in Husi in 1873 (probable birth record says 1870). He came to the United States around 1892, making him the third Amster brother to arrive. By the time Morris arrived, some of the Euster brothers had expanded their business interest farther south to the newly-formed coal "boom towns" of Pineville and Middlesboro. At first, Morris was peddling goods from a horse-drawn wagon along the Harlan Road between Pineville and Harlan. That is where he met his wife, Josie Howard. They married in 1897 and had seven children: Clarence, Jack, Ellen, Ike, Estelle, Nathan, and Henry. By 1906, Morris had moved his family to Ford, KY where he had a grocery store. Later he had a large farm in Madison County. Morris died in Winchester in 1933.

Translated birth records from Husi show several other male siblings, all assumed dead at an early age: Herscu (b. 1872), Smil (b. 1873), Marcu (b. 1874), and Burah (b. 1878). No record for the daughter was found.

This was found with other Amster family photos (all cabinet cards) from around 1890 to 1900. The family does not know who she is or even if she is related. The photo is glued on top of another photo with the original mounting card saying it is from the studio of A. Tassery, Grand Street, New York. Perhaps a copy?

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