Sunday, July 14, 2013

Joseph Joshowitz's American Journey - Ancestor Deep Dive (Part 2:1922-1947)

The first part of this deep dive had Joseph Joshowitz's wife Esther and son Isadore coming to join him in America.  The following year, daughter Minnie (my grandmother) was born in McKeesport, PA.  An account of her growing up can be seen here.
Joseph & Esther Joshowitz with children Izzy & Minnie, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 1922
That same year, Joseph was listed in the McKeesport Directory as Joseph Josavitch, a peddler who lived on Market Street.
McKeesport, PA, 1922 Directory with Joseph Josavitch listed
In 1923, daugher Malka "Mollie" Joshowitz was born.  She and Minnie were very close in age and looked nearly identical, and they often switched places.  (I remember once she came to visit from California when I was little, and I thought she was my grandmother; it was very upsetting when I realized she wasn't!)

By 1925, Joseph was a junk peddler, still spelling the last name Josavitch.
McKeesport, PA, 1925 Directory with Joseph Josavitch listed
In 1927, twins Herbie (Chaim) and Ruthie were born, and the Joshowitz family was complete.  By 1930, the family had moved to 326 Whigham Street in McKeesport.  They owned this house, which was worth $5000.  Joseph, Esther & Izzy were listed as having been born in Czechoslovakia (which was where Kolodne was at that time), and the other children in Pennsylvania.  Joseph was a fruit & vegetable huckster (peddler), which was to be his profession until his death.
1930 United States Census.  Joshowitz Family is on lines 6-12
The 1930s were difficult because of the depression.  Izzy worked as well to help support the family.  In the 1939 McKeesport directory, both Joseph and Isadore "Josowitz" are listed; Joseph is still listed as a huckster.
McKeesport, Pennsylvania City Directory, 1939
In 1940, the Josowitz family was interviewed for the United States Census on April.  The Whigham Street house was down to $4500.  Joseph, Esther & Izzy were listed as having been born in Hungary (which was where Kolodne was when they were born).  Joseph was the owner of a wholesale fruit business, and he had worked 60 hours the previous week.  The two oldest children were contributing to the family finances.  Izzy is listed as the owner of an Auto Wrecking business; he had worked 60 hours the previous week.  Minnie (listed here as Mira, a family nickname) was a stenographer.  She had worked 44 hours the previous week, and had been employed for 20 weeks during 1939 (because she graduated from high school that June) and made $240 that year.
1940 United States Census, Joshowitz family (last 2 lines of first page, then 5 entries on the second)

By 1941, Mollie had graduated high school and begun to work as well.  The "Josowitz" family had 4 entries in the McKeesport Directory.  Joseph was listed as a huckster and the husband of Esther.  Isadore was in auto parts; Mollie was a stenographer; and Molly was a bookkeeper for Weiss Jewelery.  The whole family still lived on Whigham Street.
McKeesport, PA, 1941 Directory with Joseph, Isadore, Minnie and Molly Josowitz listed
Even with the difficult financial times, Joseph still was able to buy a dedicated pew in Gemilas (Gemulas) Chesed Congregation in McKeesport in 1942.  The family was very involved in Gemilas Chesed for at least 90 years--and Izzy's wife Yetta is still a member today.
Pew Certificate for "Jos Jasowitz" at Gemulas Chesed Congregation, 1942

World War II changed a lot.  Izzy entered the US Army (by the time the war was over, he would be a Captain).  The family did not know what happened with their family, most of whom remained in Europe.  By the time the family was listed in the 1944 directory, Mollie had married (in 1942 to Larry Loden) and moved to California, so she was not listed.  In 1944, Joseph was listed without a profession.  Isadore was listed as being in the Army.  Minnie (Myra here) was a stenographer for Robert Amper company.  And Herbert was working as an attendant at Bendick's Texaco Service Center.
McKeesport, PA, 1944 Directory with Joseph, Isadore, Minnie & Herbert Joshowitz listed
Joseph and Esther Joshowitz, 1946
After the war, things were much better financially--for a while.  Joseph continued his fruit business, and the kids all were working.  The Depression was over.  This would be the time for Joseph to finally relax a bit.
Esther and Joseph Joshowitz, 1947
On October 13, 1947, Joseph was driving his fruit truck when he swerved to avoid a cement mixer and hit a bus.  He was killed on the scene.
McKeesport Daily News Article about Joseph Joshowitz's death
Joseph was buried in the old Gemilas Chesed Cemetery in Versailles, PA.
Joseph Joshowitz's Grave (front & back)

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing what you can collect on a person's life - census records, city directories, newspaper articles - to tell us about him. And you've got some photos and a gravestone - this was a great summary of Joseph's life.