Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Jews of Jackson County Part III: the War and Reconstruction

The fate of the Jackson and Gadsden County Fleishmans is recounted in detail in my article "Samuel Fleishman: Tragedy in Reconstruction –Era Florida," Southern Jewish History 8 (2005), pp. 32-75. In brief, Samuel Fleishman left Jackson County in the middle of the war after the Confederate army draft was extended to cover men up to the age of 45. He made his way to New York where he worked with his in-laws, the Altmans. Samuel returned to his family after the war and established the Altman Bros. store in Marianna. During the Reconstruction era, Fleishman affiliated with the Republicans and was murdered at the height of Jackson County violence in October 1869. Almost immediately after Samuel’s murder, his widow Sophia and their six children departed for New York City where they were looked after by Sophia’s increasingly successful brother, Benjamin – later famous at department store magnate “B. Altman.” The Marianna store was immediately closed, although Altman continued to maintain some property interests in Jackson County for a couple of decades.

Philip Fleishman, who was regularly moving between Gadsden and Jackson, left Florida for New York City around the same time as Sophia. Ferdinand, who together with Philip had taken over Samuel’s store in Quincy, too met a sad fate. He left Florida during the war, but ended up committing suicide in Cincinnati. His widow, Fannie Davis, married Morris Warendolff, a native of Prussia who also lived in Gadsden County. The couple and their children too left for New York. Both Benjamin and Simon served in the 6 FL Inf. Simon was captured at Missionary Ridge, while Benjamin was wounded and captured at Chickamauga. After the war, Benjamin continued to have business interests in Jackson County but died in the mid-1870s. Simon was the only Fleishman male left in Florida by the late 1870s. He was a well-noted and respected businessman in Quincy, living there into the twentieth century.

The Fleishmans were the only Jewish family to settle in Jackson County from the time of Sophia’s arrival in the mid-1850s until close to their departure in late 1869. In addition to the Fleishman men of Gadsden County, a few other Jews had business interests in Marianna, including “B. Cohn” and “D. Cohn” who appear in the 1867 tax rolls only. In the late 1860s, however, maybe even as late as the eve of census taking in the summer of 1870, the next generation of Jackson County Jews had started to arrive.

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