Jewish Settlers of Calvert Texas

This webpage includes a Bulletin Board and history of the Jewish Settlers of early-day Calvert Texas.



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Early-Day Jewish Migration to Texas

Jewish settlers began moving to the Texas territory in the early 1800's. The Samuel Isaacs family was with Stephen Austin's first colonists. For serving in the army of the Republic of Texas he was given 320 acres of land.

By 1831, Velasco had several Jewish businessmen including Jacob Henry and Jacob Lyons. Jacob Henry's will provided for the building of a hospital at Velasco.

Nacogdoches was an early center of immigration for early day Jewish settlers. Some of the Jewish settlers that came through Nacogdoches included Adolphus Sterne, who participated in the Fredonian war, and subsequently was named acting alcalde and official interpreter; Dr. Joseph Hertz and his brother Hyman, Simon Schloss, Albert Emanuel, Sam Maas and Simon Weiss were mercantile merchants that also served the government in civil and military capacities. Simon and Jacob Mussina settled in Galveston (1836), the former editing a paper and practising law. Edward J. Johnson, from Cincinnati, Ohio, was killed while fighting under Fannin at Goliad (1836), where three other Jews also fought—Benjamin H. Mordecai (killed by Indians in 1840), M. K. Moses, and Herman Ehrenberg.

Notable services were rendered to Texas by Levi Charles Harby (sometimes known as Levi Myers Harby), Isadore Dyer, and Leon Dyer. Michael Seeligson settled in Galveston in 1836; he was alderman of the city in 1840 and 1848, mayor in 1853, and worked untiringly for the annexation of the Republic of Texas to the United States.

Henry Seeligson, his son, went to Galveston from Michigan in 1839, held several military appointments, and fought in three wars, in one of which he was highly complimented by Gen. Zachary Taylor.

Prominent in the early wars, from San Jacinto (1835) to the war with Mexico (1846), were: Eugene Joseph Chiméne, Kohn (Texas spy-company), Henry Wiener, Moses Albert Levy (surgeon-general in Sam. Houston's army in the Texas-Mexican war; was present at the storming of the Alamo, Dec. 5, 1835), A. Wolf (killed in the Alamo, 1836; his name is inscribed on the Alamo monument at Austin), Dr. Isaac Lyons of Charleston (surgeon-general, 1836), and D. I. Kokernot. Michael de Young, a French Jew, settled in San Augustine in 1840, and furnished the necessary equipment to volunteers during the war with Mexico. Three years earlier Edward S. Solomon settled in the same town. Many acres of land in Texas, now under cultivation, were originally allotted to David Moses and Michael de Young for services rendered to the republic.

The Jewish settlers in each district began communal life by establishing first a cemetery and then a synagogue.

Jewish Settlers Helped Build Calvert

One of the area investers, Abraham Grosbeak, paid $3,321 for 1107 acres to be used as a townsite in January 1868 and transferred the land to an association of businessmen by quit claim. Railroad engineer, Theodore Kosse, who worked for the railroad company laid out a map of the proposed new town including a right of way through the town, and suitable blocks for depot and supply stations were deeded to the railroad company. The remaining lots out of the 1107 acre tract were made available for sale to the public.

This new town was named for Robert Calvert, a planter and state legislator, who had settled near Sterling (a couple of miles from present-day Calvert)when he arrived in Texas from Tennessee in 1850. Calvert was a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore, colonizer of Maryland.

A texas Historical marker at Burnett and Main St. (HW 6) in Calvert describes the founding of Calvert:

" Swarming ox-carts and cotton wagons, busy stores and saloons, casino tables stacked with gold: this was early Calvert, a major cotton export and trade center. Community began as "Sterling," in Sterling C. Robertson colony of the 1820s. It was center of mustering and military supply activity in Civil War, 1861-1865. When Houston & Texas Central Railroad route was established here, 1868, town was moved 2 mi. to the right of way and renamed for Judge Robert Calvert, pioneer Texan, local landowner, benefactor, and civic leader-- a descendant of Lord Baltimore of Maryland."

The Sanger Brothers, who later founded the Sanger-Harris stores in Dallas, built a store in Calvert in 1868 and the first train arrived in Calvert in June 1869. As the terminus of the rail line, the city of Calvert prospered.


Calvert incorporated with an aldermanic form of government in 1870. In 1870, as part of the Reconstruction political maneuvering in Robertson County, Calvert replaced Owensville as county seat of Robertson County. Early in 1870, Calvert was still occupied by federal troops; that year also the first school was founded in the community. The Republican party in the county drew much of its strength from black voters on the plantations in the Calvert area, and for a number of years the party was able to elect blacks from Calvert to county and state office.

The large plantations of the pre-war era were divided into smaller tracts and sharecroppers and day laborers replaced the slave labor. More and more farmers and freed slaves moved into the area and cotton production began reaching record levels.

That same year (1870), one of Calvert's first industries, an iron foundary was built. Local iron ore local deposits were mined and iron ore from as far away as a 100 miles northeast in Cherokee County was hauled to the foundy by horse-drawn wagons. Here the iron ore was processed into iron and made into farm tools.

As a rail center and as county seat, Calvert prospered, and in 1871 the town claimed to have the largest cotton gin in the world. One of Calvert's most prominent citizens, William Harrison Hamman, a soldier, farmer, lawyer, entrepreneur, and two-time candidate for Governor of Texas moved to Calvert in 1871 and established a successful legal practice.

On July 26, 1871, he married Ella Virginia Laudermilk. The couple had five children. In 1878 William Hamman became interested in monetary reform and ran as the Greenback party's candidate for governor, finishing second.

Gottlieb Dirr came to Calvert from Germany to work in the coal mines that were in production at the time. After a flood forced the mine's closing, Dirr made his living through the grocery/bakery he owned on Main Street (now the Calvert Hotel).


The wealth and prosperity of the general townfolk fueled a huge business district that spanned some 46 blocks with over 50 businesses making it one the 4th largest city in Texas by the end of the decade.

The business district of Calvert began in the 1870s and was mostly complete by the 1890s. The business district is formed by an eight block area lying along Main Street, which is also state highway 6. The builders in Calvert were able to utilize a variety of materials brought in by rail and many of the masonry commercial structures in Calvert were enriched by cast iron and pressed metal fronts. Those restricted to using only brick, often did so in a manner that was both distinctive and decorative. Ground floor arcades with openings containing French doors and fanlights, typical elements of 1800s commercial structures, are to be found on many of the buildings. In others, large plate glass windows fill the ground floors, while brick corbelling or pressed metal act as the terminating and/or decorative element. A few businesses located at street corners utilized corner entrances in order to be accessible from two approaches. This served also to emphasize the entry and provided a distinctive profile. Banks most often treated their entrances in this fashion.

Germans, Jews, Irish and Blacks all settled in Calvert to share in the prosperity.

Calvert Cemetery, Organized in 1870, has many fine examples of Victorian sepulchral sculptures.

Jewish Settlers of Early-Day Calvert, Robertson County, Texas

The following Jewish settlers left their homelands in Poland and Germany and came to Texas seeking a new way of life. Many were merchants and who contrituted substantially to the building of Calvert, Texas. Over time, we will be adding photos and biographies to this website. If you have any information on any of the settlers listed on this webpage, please write or email me at

Aaron, Lena L., Born 7/15/1881 ; Died 1/4/1943, (Wife of H T. Aaron)
Aaron, Ralph, Born 12/11/1880 ; Died 12/31/1881, (Infant son of H. T. and Lena L. Aaron)
Aaron, H.T., Born 6/24/1882 (Husband of Lena L. Arron, father of Ralph Aaron who died as an infant)

Received the following email from Robert (Bobby) Weber of Holly Lake Ranch, TX:

SUBJECT: Jewish Settlers of Calvert Texas

Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:41 PM
Attached is a photograph of Beatrice (Bettie) Young wife of Jacob (Jake)] Abrams.
Bettie was born on January 7,1881 in Montgomery, Alabama. Her father was Moses Young born March 10,1815 in Germany and died on September 7,1888 in Dallas, TX. Her mother was Hannah (I do not know her maiden name). She was born in 1817 in Germany and died on October 14,1901 in Dallas. They are both buried Temple Emanuel Cemetery in Dallas. I do not know if they ever lived in Calvert.

Jake and Bettie had a daughter named Mildred (Millie) Abrams (my grandmother who was born on December 14,1877 in Calvert and died in 1929 in Dallas. Millie is buried in Calvert. She married Moses Weber (my grandfather) in June of 1900 in Cleburne TX. They lived in Calvert where he worked for the railroad.Moses was born on August 6,1870 in Peoria Illinois and died on September 24, 1926 in Dallas (buried in Temple Emanuel Cemetery in Dallas).
Millie and Moses had four children:
Martin (my father), and
Hannah. Herman was mentally ill. My father never talked about him. I also have photographs of Albert and Zerline Weber, parents of Moses Weber. I do not know if they ever lived in Calvert. If you find out that they did, I will email the photos to you.

Robert Weber
272 Green Meadow Trail
Holly Lake Ranch, TX 75765

Abrams, Arthur; Born 1889 – 1901
Abrams, Bettie; Born 1862 ; Died 1933, (wife of Jake Abrams)
Abrams, Carl; Born 1/4/1887 – 10/30/1968
Abrams, Jake; Born 1851 ; Died 1928, (Husband of Bettie Abrams)
Abrams, Rachel; Born 12/30/1880 – 9/2/1881, (Daughter of Jake and Bettie Abrams)

Altschul, Henry; Born 1844 ; Died 1896

Bedach, Aseah; Born 4/5/1883 ; Died 1/17/1887
Bedach, Bertha Janes; Born 5/1/1846 ; Died 10/27/1933, (children: Rea, Rebecca, Gerson, and Pauline Oscar)
Bedach, Gerson; Born 9/23/1877 ; Died 4/5/1956, (Son of Julius & Bertha Janes Bedach)
Bedach, Jenny; Born 9/26/1872 ; Died 6/26/1873 Bedach, Julius; Born 2/7/1842 ; Died 1/27/1916, From Wollstein, Germany, (husband of Bertha Janes)
Bedach, Leon; Born 1/15/1876 ; Died 10/11/1876(died as an infant)
Bedach, Rea; Born 5/6/1871 ; Died 9/7/1955, (Son of Julius and Bertha Janes Bedach) Bedach, Rebecca; Born 3/19/1874 ; Died 6/8/1960, (Daughter of Julius and Bertha Janes Bedach)

Bergman, G.

Blonstein, Meyer; Died 11/30/1931

Carter, Abbie Epstein; Born 7/11/1896 ; Died 5/19/1963

Casimir, Fannie Epstein; Born 1858 ; Died 1937, D Abraham & Bertha Einstein Epstein, H Jean Pierre Casimir, C Louis Samuel (W1 Edith Gibson, W2 Gladys Jenkins), Pauline Sparks, Sigmund, Paul (W Evabell Flint)

Cohen, Babette; Born 8/16/1850 ; Died 3/12/1900, (Wife of Solomon Cohen)
Cohen, Bertha; Born 4/21/1872 ; Died 8/22/1955, (daughter of Simon & Rebecca Cohen)
Cohen, David; Born 1/21/1884 ; Died 12/2/1943, (Son of Simon & Rebecca Cohen)
Cohen, Jacob; Born 4/5/1863 ; Died 12/17/1943, (son of Simon and Rebecca Cohen)
Cohen, Louie; Born 6/9/1884 ; Died 7/10/1888, (son of Solomon and Bobette Cohen)
Cohen, Morris; Born 2/25/1881 ; Died 2/24/1972, (son of Simon and Rebecca Cohen)
Cohen, Pearl; Born 8/19/1877 ; Died 12/19/1924, (daughter of Simon and Rebecca Cohen)
Cohen, Rebecca; Born 7/15/1844 ; Died 7/3/1905, (wife of Simon Cohen; children: Jacob, Lizzie, Rosa, Rachel, Bertha, Libbie, Pearl, Nathan, Morris, and David)
Cohen, Rosa; Born 2/11/1867 ; Died 9/28/1959, (daughter of Simon and Rebecca Cohen)
Cohen, Simon; Born 1/20/1842 ; Died 2/23/1924, (Born in Poland, husband of Rebecca Cohen; father of Jacob, Lizzie, Rosa, Rachel, Bertha, Libbie, Pearl, Nathan, Morris, and David Cohen)
Cohen, Solomon; Born 1850 ; Died 9/20/1895,(Husband of Babette Cohen)

David, Max; Born 4/17/1852 ; Died 5/2/1902, (born in Germany)

Einstein, Isaac; Born 1840 ; Died 11/7/1873, (died young at age 33)
Epstein, Abraham; Born 3/2/1828 ; Died 7/17/1891
Epstein, Bertha Einstein; Born 8/10/1826 ; Died 1/4/1886, C Fannie Casimir Epstein, Emma Holzwasser; Born 2/22/1866 ; Died 6/19/1956, (wife of Sig Epstein)
Epstein, Sig; Born 3/25/1860 ; Died 10/2/1931, (husband of Emma Epstein)

Friedlander, Herman C; Born 5/27/1848 ; Died 3/27/1902
Friedlander, Ricca; Born 10/15/1898 ; Died 4/3/1915,(son of Richard Friedlander)
Friedlander, Richard; Born 9/21/1893 ; Died 12/18/1915

Greenberg, Harry I.; Born 8/24/1884 ; Died 3/27/1902
Greenberg, Mazelle Marx; Born 3/12/1894 ; Died 4/29/1949

Harris, Abraham; Born 10/15/1832 ; Died 7/11/1886, (Husband of Fredericka Harris)

Hart, Gerson; Born 1/25/1872 ; Died 6/19/1927, (husband of Leah March)
Hart, Leah March; Born 3/11/1879 ; Died 4/23/1947, (wife of Gerson Hart)
Hart, Mamie; Born 2/2/1880 ; Died 6/19/1881
Hart, Sarah L.; Born 1861 ; Died 1911, (wife of Simon L. Hart)
Hart, Simon L.; Born 1857 ; Died 1924, (husband of Sarah L. Hart)

Hockwald, Julia; Born 1887 ; Died 1903, (daughter of Moses & A. Hockwald)
Hockwald, Moses; Born 12/15/1848 ; Died 6/1/1895

Hope, William; Born 1/6/1851 ; Died 10/15/1873

Katz, Rachel Cohen; Died 3/25/1935, (daughter of Simon & Rebecca Cohen)

Kirsch, Virginia "Jenny" Epstein; Born 1851 ; Died 1908

Klawatter, Hattie Friedlander; Born 8/31/1837 ; Died 12/8/1906, (wife of A. W. Klawatter)

Kosches, Emmanuel; Born 7/2/1891 ; Died 11/16/1896
Kosches, Henry Morris; Born 3/15/1895 ; Died 12/25/1899
Kosches, Nancy; Born 2/24/1888 ; Died 10/27/1891

Lavine, Dan; Born 8/1/1859 ; Died 1/17/1911
Lavine, Golda; Born 1819 ; Died 8/26/1873
Lavine, Nathan; Born 9/1809 ; Died 9/3/1897, (born in Mahave, Russia)

Lazard, Corine; Born 2/26/1872 ; Died 10/17/1872,(born in New Orleans, La)

Levine, Isaac; Born 7/16/1863 ; Died 4/18/1957, (Born in Poland, Husband of Rosa Cohen, father of Pansy, Beatrice, Fanny, and Ralph Levine)
Levine, Issie; Born 12/18/1887 ; Died 8/15/1911
Levine, Louis; Born 1854 ; Died 1920
Levine, Rebecca; Born 1860 ; Died 1930
Levine, Rosa Cohen; Born 2/11/1867 ; Died 9/28/1959

Levy, Mae Ryman; Born 11/11/1881 ; Died 1/12/1968
Levy, Mose Louie; Born 9/26/1876 ; Died 7/29/1952

Marks, Abraham; Born 4/7/1849 ; Died 3/3/1905, (born in Kalvaria, Russia)
Marks, Infant, Died 2/8/1897

Marx, Esther; Born 1/1/1887 ; Died 2/5/1982
Marx, Mandel W.; Born 2/12/1880 ; Died 8/23/1947
Marx, Nathan; Born 6/11/1842 ; Died 3/27/1905, (husband of Sarah Oscar Marx)
Marx, Sarah Oscar; Born 4/8/1854 ; Died 12/8/1914, (wife of Nathan Marx)
Marx, Vettie; Born 2/24/1882 ; Died 11/19/1885, (daughter of Nathan and Sarah Oscar Marx)

Meyer, Frances E; Born 8/3/1891 ; Died 1/15/1990
Meyer, Louis; Born 1827 ; Died 3/2/1893

Morris, Fannie March; Born 3/12/1850 ; Died 8/22/1886
Morris, Haskell; Born 3/10/1836 ; Died 11/29/1912
Morris, Pincus; Born 1836 ; Died 10/27/1892

Oscar, Blooma; Born 10/1/1887 ; Died 10/1/1891, (daughter of Isadore Sr. and Rebecca Oscar)
Oscar, Ella; Born 1852 ; Died 8/28/1880, (wife of Rudolph Oscar Sr.; children include: C Bertha (Mrs. James) Rossner, Henry (W Selma Cohen), & Gussie (Youngest)).
Oscar, Henry; Born 5/20/1870 ; Died 6/7/1931, (husband of Selma Cohen Oscar) Oscar, Isadore Jr.; Born 7/6/1874 ; Died 1/13/1939, (son of Isadore Sr. and Rebecca Oscar)
Oscar, Isadore Sr.; Born 1/20/1848 ; Died 12/28/1901, (husband of Rebecca Oscar, brother of Rudolph Oscar Sr.)
Oscar, Leah; Born 4/11/1878 ; Died 7/21/1878, (daughter of Isadore Sr. and Rebecca Oscar)
Oscar, Louis; Born 9/17/1871 ; Died 6/10/1874
Oscar, Lula; Born 3/28/1889 ; Died 6/2/1889, (daughter of Isadore Sr. and Rebecca Oscar)
Oscar, Macretha; Born 3/4/1892 ; Died 7/12/1892
Oscar, Moses; Born 4/4/1893 ; Died 6/2/1893
Oscar, Pauline Bedach; Born 1/25/1880 ; Died 11/21/1966, (daughter of Julius & Bertha Janes Bedach, wife of Isadore Oscar Jr.)
Oscar, Rachel; Born 5/4/1879 ; Died 7/26/1881,(daughter of Isadore Sr. and Rebecca Oscar)
Oscar, Rebecca; Born 10/20/1847 ; Died 3/5/1896, (wife of Isadore Oscar Sr., children: Isadore Jr. (W Pauline Bedach), Mamie Samuels, Harry, Blooma, Leah, Sigie)
Oscar, Rebecca Ernestine; Born 12/29/1903 ; Died 4/19/1991
Oscar, Rudolph Sr.; Born 1840 ; Died 6/5/1905, (husband of Ella Oscar; brother of Isadore Oscar Sr.)
Oscar, Rudolph Jr.; Born 12/29/1894 ; Died 7/15/1895, (son of Rudolph Sr. and Ella Oscar)
Oscar, Selma Cohen; Born 3/23/1872 ; Died 3/11/1960, (wife of Henry Oscar)
Oscar, Sigie; Born 6/9/1886 ; Died 6/30/1888, (daughter of Isadore Sr. and Rebecca Oscar)
Oscar, (Infant of C Rudolph Sr. and Ella Oscar)

Parnell, Libbie Cohen; Born 2/14/1874 ; Died 3/19/1952, (daughter of Simon and Rebecca Cohen)

Pruss, Earnestina; Born 5/6/1848 ; Died 7/5/1912
Pruss, Julius; Born 6/8/1838 ; Died 3/15/1892

Regensburger, Infant Son; Born 4/22/1873 ; Died 4/22/1873

Ryman, Annie; Born 10/1/1863 ; Died 6/15/1932, (wife of Herman M. Ryman)
Ryman, Herman M.; Born 8/3/1855 ; Died 3/22/1943, (husband of Annie Ryman)
Julia Ryman; Born 3/1/1883 ; Died 2/6/1884, (daughter of Herman M. and Annie Ryman)
Ryman, Maurice H.; Born 7/4/1889 ; Died 3/7/1919, World War I Veteran

Schwartz, Isaac; Born 1803 ; Died 1/17/1838, (husband of Sarah Schwartz)

Silverman, Alex; Born 2/12/1872 ; Died 3/9/1933
Silverman, Jannie; Born 1/12/1880 ; Died 4/30/1942

Ullman, Amelia; Born 11/18/1860 ; Died 7/22/1884, (wife of Henry Ullmann)

Weber, Herman; Born 1901 ; Died 1940
Weber, Millie; Born 1877 ; Died 1929

Weiss, Amelia; Born 2/26/1845 ; Died 1/26/1913, (wife of Henry W. Weiss)
Weiss, Amelia; Born 12/16/1887 ; Died 12/3/1908, (daughter of Henry W. and Amelia Weiss)
Weiss, Henry W.; Born 5/25/1836 ; Died 1/16/1901, (husband of Amelia Weiss)
Weiss, Isaac; Born 1/29/1870 ; Died 3/22/1886
Weiss, Therese; Born 8/16/1884 ; Died 3/22/1903, (daughter of Henry W. and Amelia Weiss)

Weltman, Flora
Weltman, Jennie; Born 2/2/1884 ; Died 10/2/1886, (Daughter of Hymie & Bertha Weltman)
Weltman, Julia; Born 1881 ; Died 1886, (Daughter of D L. & L. Weltman)
Weltman, Leah; Born 1880 ; Died 1886, (Daughter of J. & H. Weltman)
Weltman, Marion; Born 1884 ; Died 1886

Wolk, Dora; Born 1/25/1874 ; Died 9/30/1961, H Himan Wolk
Wolk, Himan; Born 8/18/1872 ; Died 10/25/1937, W Dora

Zadek, Adolph; Born 11/5/1873 ; Died 8/3/1877

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