Friday, July 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #24: Sam "Born on 4th of July" Schwartz & Anna Gelbman

Photo taken at Beldegreen Studios on Avenue C in NY's Lower East Side, 1909
My great-uncle Sam Schwartz (Grandpa Theodore Schwartz's brother) was born in Ungvar, Hungary on the 4th of July in 1883. His original name was Simon but for unknown reasons, he became Samuel when he arrived in New York City in January, 1904, a 20-year-old man trained as a printer.

Sam wasted no time declaring his intention to petition for citizenship in May, 1904. In 1905, he lived as a boarder in the Lower East Side apartment of the Grossman family, at 82 Avenue D. That's the same apartment building where Sam's younger brother Teddy (hi Grandpa!) lived not long afterward.

By 1906, Sam had moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he sold vegetables until he found work as a printer. In October, 1909, Sam became a full-fledged U.S. citizen--and a week later, he married Anna Gelbman (1886-1940), the American-born daughter of a shoemaker from Miskolc, Hungary. Anna's family lived only a short walk from the field in central Bridgeport where P.T. Barnum wintered his circus, elephants and all.

Sam and Anna moved back to New York City by 1915 and in the 1920s, he went into business running Norwood Dairy, a Queens grocery store, with his brother-in-law, Louis Frish (married to Anna's sister Belle). Sadly, his beloved Anna died from cancer in 1940. Sam remarried to a lady named Margaret. Unfortunately, he had a fatal heart attack while mowing his lawn on a hot day in 1954.

On Independence Day I salute my Great Uncle Sam, born on this day 131 years ago, and his gentle wife Anna.

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