Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Henry Lefman, part two

This post continues where Henry Lefman, part one left off.

Henry Lefman & Co. located at 232 Washington St. (home 15 Union, Hoboken)
I can't locate 15 Union Place in Hoboken. There was a Union Place a couple of miles away in a town then called Union Hill. In 1923 when Union Hill joined with West Hoboken to become Union City, Union Place became 37th Street. There was also a Union Street in West Hoboken in 1903.

Amelia Virginia Lefman born. Called Minnie, she will become, in family lore, "the Belle of Hoboken."

Louis Windmuller emigrates to New York on board the SS Hermann.

Henry's son, Henry S., traveling in Paris, receives a letter from his grandmother, Abbe Wolf.[1] Henry's wife, Sarah, was daughter of Abbe and her first husband, John Thorne. They had married in 1814 when she was 20. In 1838, when she was 44, she married Dr. Elias Wolf.

Henry writes to a letter of fatherly advice to his eldest daughter, Annie.[2] He writes from his home address. There's no indication that she is traveling or living apart from him.

Louis Windmuller writes a letter to his grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sisters in Münster. In it he says Henry Lefman has been the only German relative in New York to provide him with any real help: "I found a helping hand from my cousin Henry Lefman. And he is now the only one on whom I can depend. Without him I would be lost. He is a well-to-do honest man."
. There's more about this letter in my blog post called river crossings.

Henry's children, Emma, age 10, and George W., age 11, are admitted to the School of the Reformed Dutch Church. Their residence is given as 15 Union Place, Hoboken. The school, which offers free attendance to parishioners, is famous for the quality of its teaching.[3] At this time, the school is located at 183 Fourth St. in Manhattan adjoining the church's Marble Cemetery. This photo, of a much later date, shows the cemetery.

{Marble Cemetery, Manhattan, 2nd Street, Between 1st and 2nd Avenues, by Victor Volnar, n.d.; source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

Robert L. Lefman, age 6, is admitted to School of the Reformed Dutch Church.

Henry shows up in another edition of the city directory: "Lefman Henry & Co. mers. 242 Washington, h Hoboken."

In a city directory for 1857-58 Henry is listed as selling "woodenware" at 242 Washington.[4]

George W. Lefman graduates from the School of the Reformed Dutch Church.

Henry puts his name on a list of "citizens of New York, irrespective of party, in favor of an honest, faithful and independent administration of the city government."[5]

Amelia Lefman, age 6, is admitted to the School of the Reformed Dutch Church. She will leave in 1864 without graduating.

Emma L. Lefman joins 17 other youngsters in the graduating class on the 225th anniversary of the School of the Reformed Dutch Church.[6] From the New York Times, October 27, 1859:

A city directory lists "Lefman, Henry, imp. 318 B'way, h 15 Union pl. Hoboken" and "Lefman, Kiefer & Thomass, imp. 318 B'way."

Annie Lefman and Louis Windmuller marry in the Dutch Reformed Church, Hoboken, on November 23. Their marriage will last 54 years until the death of Louis in 1913.

A last child, Albert Clarence Lefman, is born. Henry is 56 and ailing (he has a weak heart). Sarah is 44 and thus beyond the age when women were then expected to be bearing children.

Louis and Annie Windmuller move to a large mansion on 100 acres of land in Woodside, Queens, "far out in the country," as Annie's daughter, my grandmother, will later say.

Henry's business is listed as "Lefman, Kiefer & Thomass, imps. 318 B'way;" -- Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1860).

Henry dies of heart failure. "LEFMAN — At Hoboken, on Friday, March 9, suddenly, of disease of the heart, Henry Lefman, aged 50 years, 8 months and 6 days. The relatives and friends of the family are invited respectfully to attend his funeral on Monday, the 12th inst., at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, from his late residence, No. 15 Union place, Hoboken. Interment in New-York Bay Cemetery. (NEW-YORK DAILY TRIBUNE, MONDAY, MARCH 12, 1860.) There was no will. I don't know why my records say he was born July 6, 1804, and this account says July 1, 1809. These things happen.

Henry is dead but his firm lives on. A city directory lists "Lefman Henry, imp. 318 B'way, h Hoboken" and "Lefman, Kiefer & Thomas, imps. 818 B'way;" -- Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1861).

There is a city directory entry for Henry's son: "Lefman Henry S. mer. 189 Duane, b - B'way h.."

The city directory for this year gives a new business address for Henry S.: "Lefman Henry S. mer. 51 White, b - B'way h.;" -- Trow's New York city directory (J. F. Trow., 1865).

Sarah Lefman, widow of Henry, is recorded as living in Hoboken at 76 Bloomfield; -- Gopsill's Jersey City and Hoboken directory for the year ending 30th April, 1867 (Hoboken, Gopsill, 1866).

Henry S. Lefman dies at age 29. There is no will.[7]

Albert D. Lefman graduates from School of the Reformed Dutch Church. As parent, the name of a male guardian appears, not that of his mother.

Minnie Lefman and Hugo B. Roelker marry. She's 21 at the time. He is a brother of Louis Windmuller's partner, Alfred Roelker. I've written about him before.

A city directory lists Albert: "Lefman, Albert C., lithographer, 207 Fulton, h 321 W. 32d St." The same directory lists Sarah as living at 143d N. Brook Av.

Sarah Lenington Thorne Lefman dies.[8]

Albert Clarence Lefman dies.

Emma Louise Lefman dies.[9]

Minnie dies.

Hannah Eliza Lefman Windmuller dies.


Some sources:

Union City, New Jersey - Hudson County Genealogy Page

West Hoboken + Union Hill = Union City

History of Hudson County : genealogies of prominent families by Feldra, Robert (Union, N.J., Michel & Rank, 1917)

Collegiate School, the oldest independent school in the United States


Collegiate Archives Collegiate Church Corporation

An Historical Sketch of the Early Collegiate Church


[1] Here's the text:
New York, April 18, 1854

To Henry I. Lefman, Paris

My dear boy,

Your dear mother came to me this morning bringing me the welcome news of your safe passage. I have thought of you every day. you know I have been to sea. when I heard the wind blow I felt for you and would say "I fear Henry is sick" you are now safe on land - the Dr. and Hannah have been very ill they are now better, and send their love to you.

Henry by dear boy - you are in a gay and pleasing city you are young and innocent. God watch over and protect you, do not forget your studies a good education will be to you a fortune easy to carry and the best introduction in scarcity, the road to knowledge may appear to you difficult - do not go half way climb to the top and you will be all I can wish.

I must make this letter short as the time will not allow. my next will be long. I shall expect a letter for myself alone from you.

and now my dear-Henry adieu
Under every sky your loving
Grand mother, Abbe Wolf (signed)
[2] Here's the text:
For my Daughter Annie E. Lefman

The performance of Duty insures the protection of God. ... Read useful books, practice your piano forte, your German, your French, your History of your own Country as well as of Europe in which you have to extend your little store as also your other Studies, try to become efficient in all Household affairs, in cooking, washing, ironing, baking, cleaning, and useful economy.

Read over the above Rules and maxims very often at least once a week -- Recollect they are written by your best Friend at Home No. 15 Union Place, Hoboken, NJ, the 22 Day of February 1854 (the Birthday of the Father of your glorious Country George Washington.)

Keep a Journal in which you write every Evening the Passages you meet during the Day.

Be Virtuous and clever my dear Daughter and let you Deeds, actions and everthing be such that they bring Honour to Yourself and Family, this is the sincere with of your affectionate Father

Henry Lefman
[3] History of the school of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch church in the city of New York, from 1633 to 1883 by Henry Webb Dunshee, 2d ed, (Aldine press, 1883)

[4] In the 1980s, on a trip to New York from her home in San Diego, my genealogist aunt Florence consulted city directories at the New York Public Library. She found much that I've cited from online sources and a quite a few more. Here and below, where I don't cite an online source, you can assume it's her work that I'm using.

[5] "A meeting of citizens of New York, irrespective of party, in favor of an honest, faithful and independent administration of the city government; of effective measures for representing peculation, fraud and corruption in our municipal affairs, and of the election of William Frederick Havemeyer as mayor and Samuel J. Tilden as Corporation Counsel. subscribed: ... Henry Lefman...." Evening Post, Wednesday, November 30, 1859.

[6] It's interesting that the school was co-educational, although classes were not mixed. Some of her male classmates came from notable families: The father of George Augustus Bedford was a Commander in the British Navy in 1843, then Captain, 1854-64, and he later became a Vice Admiral. The father of James R. Hitchcock was a Colonel in the American army, commander of the Ninth Regiment, in 1878. The father of Augustus Wentz was apparently Lt. Col. [Augustus] Wentz, 7th. Iowa Regt., who died in a Civil War battle near Belmont, MO, in 1861. And finally Cornelius Vanderbilt (born 1830, full name Cornelius Jeremiah Vanderbilt -- 1830–1882) was an unloved son of the Commodore himself, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sr. The son was to shoot himself to death in 1882. He suffered from epilepsy, did not pay his debts, "was always at outs with everybody," got relatively little from his father's will, had a "particular friend" in a man named Mr. Terry. (Sources: the navy list, Mariners-L Archives, ILLNESS OF COL. JAMES R. HITCHCOCK (NYT), Cornelius Vanderbilt (entry in wikipedia).

[7] My genealogist aunt Florence found a petition headed thus. She wrote:

I was surprised that the name of the petitioner was what looks like Sarah Narley but it could be Harley [this may be John Harley; see the entry for 1872]. Anyway she says she is the mother of Henry. Henry was the second child of Sarah and Henry Lefman. I knew he died 26 Oct. 1867, according to Grandma Clara's notation and buried on the 28th. He was 29 yrs. 11 mos.

Sarah says he was unmarried and that she, George, Emma, Robert, Minnie, & Alice survived him. He left no will. All the children were minors except George who was full age.

I do not have a record of Alice at all. She is mentioned by Sarah in their petition, but is not named as being under the protection of the guardian (below).

I wondered if Sarah had married again after Henry's death in 1860, maybe briefly, and then became a window again. Do you recall that the Orphans Court Record for the minor children Emma, Robert, Amelia, and Albert shows their guardian to be James Beusau (sp?) and I wondered why. This was in 1865. Perhaps Sarah married the second time about this date and to protect the children a guardian was appointed. But Sarah would not have been married long because she signed the petition (Admin papers) in 1867 as a widow. The City Directories in the 1870s show her name as Sarah Lefman so does her death certificate 14 Nov. 1881, age 65 (gastro-enteritis). I had always wondered why the younger (minor) children had to be protected and the possible second marriage of Sarah may be the answer.
[8] Aunt Florence transcribed
Sarah's death certificate. I have her birth date as March 19, 1816, and according to this it was October 20 of that year. Once again I can't account for the difference. Here's the text.
Health Department
Certificate of Death
Name Sarah Lefman
Age 65 years, 1 months, 23 days
Widow, without occupation
Birthplace: NY Albany
Lived 65 years in US
Resident in NYC for 3 years
Father's name: Thorne
Mother's name: Thorne
Place of Death: 143 St.

Signed: A.C. Lefman 184 Second Ave. NY

deceased died on the 12th day of November 1881, about 5- o'clock A.M.
Cause of death: gastro-enteritis; duration: one moneh 14 days.

Doctor's signature

Burial: New York Bay, Nov. 14, 1881
Signed: undertaker
[9] The New York Times carried a death notice:
Lefman -- Entered into rest on Wednesday morning, May 5, 1909, Emma Louise Lefman. Funeral service at the residence of her sister, Mrs. Hugo B. Roelker, 43 West 97th St., New York City, on Friday morning at 10 o'clock. Interment at New York Bay Cemetary. -- Obituary 1, No Title, NYT May 6, 1909, Thursday, Page 9.

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