Monday, September 13, 2010

more German relations set up shop in New York

In addition to Henry Lefman, the Windmullers and Frankenheimers, some of my great-grandfather's Sutro relatives came to America from Germany in the years before he himself arrived. Louis Windmuller's mother, Rachel, was a Sutro, daughter of the famous Rabbi Abraham Sutro, about whom I've previously written. The family was a large one. Rachel had eight siblings, six aunts and uncles, and at least a couple dozen cousins. The cousins included the Frankenheimer brothers, sons of Rachel's aunt Yereth, who arrived in New York in the early 1950s and who showed up in my last blog post. They also included Bessie Sutro, who married one of these sons — Philip — and who emigrated to New York with him. And they included Rosa Warendorff Sutro and her 13 children who abandoned Germany for America after the death of her husband and the decline of his once-thriving woolen business.

The first to arrive appears to have been one of these 13, Charles, whose name shows up in a New York business directory having an 1850 imprint. Since the compiler had to have assembled its contents some months before the directory went to press, Charles was almost certainly doing business in New York in 1849 or before. He was born in 1829 and that means he was in business for himself at a very young age. The address given was simply Beaver Street and the listing appears under the heading "Dry Goods Jobbers." In 1850 dry goods merchants and importers and to lesser extent commission merchants were concentrated in Beaver Street's few short blocks. Here's a scan of the entry.

{The New York mercantile union business directory (S. French, L.C. & H.L. Pratt, 1850)}

Charles's mother and his brothers and sisters arrived in New York the same year the directory appeared. They stayed in the city less than a year and moved on to Baltimore where they established their home. Charles and some of his brothers left for the west coast very soon after. Within a few years Charles and three of the brothers had set themselves up as bankers in San Francisco, while a fifth brother, Adolph, was beginning to make his way as an engineer and entrepreneur in the same place.

The next of Rachel's cousins to immigrate to New York was Bessie Sutro's brother, Bernard. His name first appears in a city directory for 1856 as a merchant specializing in "trimmings."

{Trow's New York city directory (J.F. Trow, 1856)}

Bernard married a woman named Pauline Josephthal. A city directory issued in 1860 lists a man named Moritz Josephthal, shows his occupation as "trimmings," and gives his business address as 60 Warren. I've no documentary evidence of a family relationship between Pauline and Moritz, but there certainly must have been one.

Here's a scan.

{Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1860)}

Whatever business relationship existed between Bernard Sutro and his relative Moritz Josephthal, it wasn't a lasting one. A directory of 1861 showed Josephthal doing business at 60 Warren but now partnered with a man named Lewengood and selling buttons not trimmings. That directory showed "B. Sutro & Co." in the trimmings business, but now a block to the south at 55 Murray. Both men would continue to be listed in city directories of the next couple of decades, always as merchants but never associated with one another.


I couldn't find prints that show the locations mentioned in this post at roughly the right time frame. This one shows part of Warren Street a couple of decades later.

{Manhattan: Broadway - Warren Street by the American Studio, ca. 1870; source: NYPL Digital Gallery}


Here is a scan of a passport application made by Charles Sutro in 1876.

{source: documents made available on}


Here are some locations named in this blog post from a map made a generation later.

Beaver Street

Warren and Murray Streets

18th Street

Overview of lower Manhattan showing the four locations.

These views come from a very detailed panoramic map calledThe city of New York by a man named Will L. Taylor (New York, Galt & Hoy, 1879). The Library of Congress has a high-quality zoomable image of this map.


Genealogical records for people mentioned in this post (apart from those listed in the previous one)----------

City Directories used as sources for this post:

The New York mercantile union business directory (S. French, L.C. & H.L. Pratt, 1850)
Trow's New York city directory (J.F. Trow, 1856)

Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1859)

Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1860)

Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1861)

Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1865)

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