29 July 2009

Jews in the News: Check out smaller towns

While many American towns had small Jewish communities, there were others in which only a handful of families might have settled, working as craftsmen, merchants or in other businesses. It is always worth a check of historic papers to see where an elusive relative or two might have settled.

After seeing the list of new papers just added to the subscription site NewspaperARCHIVE.com's collections, I decided to search for members of the tribe (MoTs) - the Frozen Chosen - in Alaska during the years 1910-1915. When checking new databases for MoTs, I start with COHEN. Of course, not all those named COHEN are Jewish, but it's a good starting place.

Here is some of what I discovered:

In the Fairbanks Sunday Times (August 18, 1912) is a short story by Scott MacCraig starring Ikey Cohen as the main character:
This time It was Ikey Cohen, an old sawed-off sourdough In "th' general merchan' bls'nlss," with the bullet head and jaw of a pug— never other than cropped close and clean shaven as If he was proud ofthem—which perhaps paved way for the fact that he had mushed from Skagway to Nome, with many a wide criss-cross between, and never the bugaboos supposed to be so common In Alaska getting him. And, let me tell you, you couldn't soak Ikey on furs! ...
Are you looking for a missing Abe Cohen of Providence, Rhode Island?? In the Fairbanks Daily Times (January 28, 1914), the headline reads "Mother Anxious to Locate Abe Cohen":
For more than three years, Abe Cohen, who was in Fairbanks in June, 1910, has not been heard from by his relatives, and they are anxious to locate his present whereabouts.

In the last mail from the Outside, Mayor Murray C. Smith received a letter from Mrs. I. Cohen, of 388 North Main street, Providence, Rhode Island, in which the woman stated that she had not seen her son in five years, and was anxious to get into communication with him if he is still alive.

The missing man is of Hebraic extraction, 26 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches in height, light complexion, and blue eyes.

In the letter from Mrs. Cohen there was an enclosure, which was the last word received from the missing- man. It was a letter, written on the stationery of the Eagle saloon, and dated June 3, 1910. The letter contained many references to
the stampede to the Iditarod, and it is thought that he went there.

Anyone having any knowledge of his whereabouts is requested to communicate with the chief of police.
In the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (March 10, 1910) there's a notice:
Meets first Sunday in each month.
t. BAYLES, Pres.
R. BLOOM, Secretary.
On the same page, the paper described a February 19 article in the Juneau Record in the wreck of the Yucatan, which hit an iceberg and passengers landed on Goose Island. In the story we read about Ira Cohen:

Purser Ira Cohen is declared by the passengers to have been tireless in his efforts to make things comfortable tor everyone. As soon as the ship struck Mr. Cohen got busy and continued hard at work until everyone had been looked after on Goose Island.
And here's a small notice from the Alaska Citizen (February 17, 1913), there's this small notice:
Albert Cohen, representative of Schwabacher Brothers of Seattle arrived on last Monday's stage, for his annual trip of the north.
NewspaperARCHIVE has just added a host of new papers to its collections.

ALASKA: Fairbanks
CALIFORNIA: Covina, Ukiah
ILLINOIS: Carbondale
INDIANA: Logansport
IOWA: Ackley, Algona, Estherville, Glenwoo, Humboldt, Lenox, Malvern, Rock Valley, Sioux Center, Sumner, Wapello, Williamsburg.
MARYLAND: Cumberland, Hagerstown
MICHIGAN: Ironwood, Marshall
MISSOURI: Jefferson City
OHIO: Massillon, Piqua, Xenia
PENNSYLVANIA: Greenville, Lebanon
TEXAS: Denton, Lubbock, Mexia, Weimar
Click here to see all the new content at NewspaperARCHIVE.

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