Short Stuff





    Compiled by Gladys Sturman

    Note: Western States Jewish History Journal often has items of special interest as demonstrated below. These were published in Volume 38, #2.

Lewis Polack

Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 23, 1851, p. 2.

Publisher’s Note: In the late 1830s, Lewis Polack, of a distinguished Philadelphia Jewish family, was an established merchant of what would later be called San Francisco. He was one of the first, if not the first Jewish resident of the Far West, having arrived in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in November, 1837. On April 9, 1840, Polack, and subsequently forty to fifty other Americans were arrested by the Mexican authorities on a false charge of fomenting a revolution. Their property was confiscated and they were tortured, transported to Mexico and imprisoned there. This imprisonment lasted until October of 1840. After being released Polack returned to the United States. Later, in 1849, with the news of the gold finds in California, he made his way back to San Francisco. Two years later he was killed in a house of ill repute in that city.

    Terrible Affair. — Last evening, about half-past ten, a terrible affair occurred in a house of ill fame kept by Mary St. Clair, in Merchant Street, just below the Plaza. A man named Lewis Polack, a sporting man from Philadelphia, well known in this city, it seems was in bed with an occupant of the house, a girl named Jane Hurley. A man named Samuel Gallagher, who it seems had been living with the girl previously, went to the door and knocked. Polack came out, and after some few words, in which Gallagher accused Polack of having interfered with his rights in connection with the woman, Gallagher drew a pistol ,and shot Polock through the head. This is the story that is told by inmates of the house. The brains and blood of Polack were lying in a clotted mass upon the threshold of the room where he had been sleeping. Gallagher was arrested immediately and taken before the Vigilance Committee. The coroner held an inquest upon the body, and the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death from a pistol-shot wound, inflicted by Samuel Gallagher.

Letter from the Office of the City Board of Education, Santa Cruz, California, September 25, 1897.

    My dear Clark:

    The Hebrews through their representatives have asked the Board that their children should not be marked with an "X" for absence, while attending their religious services next Monday and a month hence, during their holiday.

    After some consideration by the Board, I was requested to ask you to inform the teachers not to mark them away from school for such purposes at their parents request.

    Very truly yours,

    O. J. Lincoln

Cattle Rustlers Hit Jewish Firm

From the L.A. Star, January 17, 1863.

    Notice to the Public

    The undersigned hereby give notice that all animals having the brand of Don Ricardo Vejar, of San Jose in this County, will be claimed by the undersigned, and hides not branded will also be claimed, and in all cases, the person in whose possession the same are found, will be held responsible.

    Tichler Schlesinger, Los Angeles, December 19, 1862

The Sabbath

The American Israelite—1855

    Some of the Christian clergymen here have been advocating Saturday as the Sabbath and acknowledge that, according to the scriptures it is the day which God set aside as a day of rest, but that it was not convenient for the followers of Christ, so they made a Sabbath of their own. This is a strange world, and the people in it are conundrums to themselves and everybody else and do some very foolish things, but I do hope that the Jews will never conclude to trade Shabbes for the Christian Sunday and then be ashamed of themselves for it afterward.

Egalitarianism in the Wild West

Jews settling in the West encountered much less religious hostility than Jews in the East and far, far less than Jews in Eastern Europe did. Nevertheless, anti-Jewish attitudes die hard and, even in the wild egalitarian West, the Jews faced the strange views of others

    The Jewish News of New York—January 4, 1889

    San Francisco Report: A.H. Cummins gave an address on the Semitic race, before the Geographical Society, Dec. 20. He thought the Semitic race was in time bound to amalgamate with the stronger and sturdier Aryan stock, and in so doing impart the tenderness and delicacy of fancy which they lack.


Political Life in San Francisco

The American Israelite, Sept. 9, 1881.

Jewish Candidates for Public Office

    I have advised the people to vote for the best man, irrespective of party. The Democrats have nominated Walter H. Levy for District Attorney, Abraham Newman, President of the Congregation Ohabai Shalome, for Supervisor, and two promising young lawyers, Isidore Danielades, and Hyman P. Bush, for school Directors.

    The Republicans could afford to place but one Jew on the ticket, Mr. David Stern, for school director, and they could well afford it, as the office pays no salary. I hope we will select the best men from all tickets.

High Holy Days in San Francisco in 1858

The B’nai B’rith Messenger, November 4, 1858.

    During the late Holy-days the Synagogues of San Francisco were well attended, and all the religious ceremonies well observed.

    At the Broadway Synagogue, there was an organ and a choir, composed of ladies and gentlemen, (the organist being a Christian, and some of the Piyutum were omitted, to give opportunities for their performances.

    At the German Synagogue, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah a sort discourse was delivered in English, which was pretty well done for one unacquainted with the language.

    The Congregation Shearith Israel, of which Rev. Mr. Henry is the Pastor, offered up prayers according to the Orthodox custom, sermons being delivered by the minister to a large auditory.

    In consequence of the strong desire for religious service, two additional halls were fitted up as temporary Synagogues in San Francisco, and were well attended.

Cars are News in 1909

The B’nai B’rith Messenger, April 16, 1909, Page 4.

    Mr. Nathan Jacoby and party spent Sunday at Arrowhead Springs, making the journey in their automobile.

    Automobiles are a service of great joy to their owners and the fact that so many are being purchased by the Jewish community is noteworthy. Mr. Sam Newmark has a new Locomobile, Messrs. Morris Cohn and Lemuel Goldwater are awaiting their new motors. Mr. Jacob Loew has a Packard car, and there are many more on the way.

This Had to be a Purim Joke—I Hope

The American Israelite, July 20, 1877, Page 8.

    A Masonic Lodge in Indiana was presided over by a Master who had an exaggerated notion of discipline. One night he met his lodge in called meeting (not a member absent)) to instruct them in the work. Teaching them the use of the gavel he had just called them up with three knocks, when he leaned too far back, fell through to the ground, four stories, and broke his neck.

    Picked up next morning he was buried decently, but not a Mason came to the funeral. More strange still, not a Mason appeared any more in that village. It was inexplicable.

    Forty women left widows, 220 children left orphans, 84 merchants left in the lurch with unpaid bills. Twenty years after that somebody went up to the fourth story, broke open the door and beheld the Lodge—a lodge of skeletons! Strange but true, they had strictly obeyed the orders of the Worshipful Master, and waiting for the knock to seat them, starved to death.

    Each was standing in an attitude of respectable attention, "looking to the East," and had not pitying citizens taken them down they might have been standing there still. Such is life.

A New Enterprise:
Wool-Cleaning Enterprise of Large Magnitude

L.A.Daily Journal—February 29, 1896

    It is announced on authority that the Pacific Wool Company will be the name given to an enterprise that is intended to wash and scour the wool product of Southern California.

    Such well-known persons as the members of the Kaspar Cohn & Company, are interested in the matter. M.J. Newmark said this morning, ‘We intend to make these scouring and washing works the best in the State. In fact there is only one other in the State and that is in San Francisco.

    The works will be located near Naud’s warehouse and will be fitted with the latest and most approved machinery, and the industry will give work to between 60 and 70 people. The Itiadon Iron Works have been given the order for the boiler and engine, and the scouring machinery will be the best and most scientific made. The capacity of the works will be about 4,000,000 lbs a year. Oil will be used as a fuel in running the machinery.

    These works will be of inestimable advantage to the sheep and wool industry in this part of the country, and the wool being scientifically cleansed will be more eagerly sought for in the markets of the East. The wool will go to make up clothes, blankets, etc. We have been contemplating this thing for some time and have at last got it into shape.