INTERESTING CLIPPINGS FOUND WHILE PREPARING THE
WESTERN STATES JEWISH HISTORY
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.