A Part of Genealogy Express


Welcome to
Clark County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


* Source:
A Standard History of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio
 - Vol. I -
- Illustrated -

publ. The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York


Extracted from
page 421

     While the Clark County Historical Society has investigated many phases of local development, as yet it has not given detailed attention to its foreign population.  If the present influx of outsiders to Ohio continues, said a local newspaper, it will not be many decades until native sons will actually be in the minority.  The last Saturdays in the months of March, June, September and December of each year are fixed as the days upon which final action may be had on petitions for naturalization.
     According to the Interchurch Survey, the foreign born population of the United States is about 17,000,000 with 20,000,000 others of immediate foreign extraction, and since the birth rate among the foreign-born is higher than that of the native-born, about one-fourth of all the children in the United States are of foreign parentage.  There are about 1,500 foreign language publications, and that explains why foreigners do not learn to speak English.  Mrs. Lillian Russell Moore, once an American stage beauty, was commissioned by the United States Government to investigate conditions among possible emigrants before they come to Ameican, and she recommended more care on the part of the United States in admitting them.  Once the immigrants were from northern Europe, but recently they are from southern and eastern Europe, and instead of sending foreign missionaries there is a field in this country.
     It has been discovered that about 5,000,000 foreigners in the United States have refused to take out citizenship papers, and it is difficult to understand why any one should want to live in this country who does not want to become a citizen.  While many immigrants want to become Americans, few of them abandon their native tongues.  While many Clark County citizens are only a few generations from the emigrant, perhaps the first influx of new blood among the settlers was the Irish, but they are so identified with community affairs that their alien birth is no longer considered, although the local Irish population has been much interested in the advance of Irish independence from England.


     When asked who was the first Jew, and when he came to Springfield, Gen. J. Warren Keifer said: "The Jews were here early, I want to tell you; they have been here pretty continually," and then he had mental concept of the first one, although the name was elusive; it was Michael Kauffman - an Irish name given to a Jew.  However, further investigation showed that Michael Kauffman followed Israel Wolfson, although Kauffman is remembered better.  HE was a clothier in Springfield.  He has been in Springfield since 1866, and is the only living charter member of Temple Ohev Zedukah, organized in 1869 by Reformed Jews.  Mr. Wolff was once an Orthodox Jew, but long residence in this country has caused him to conform to American customs, to observe the spirit rather than the letter of the law, and he worships with the Reformed Jews.
     There are about 125 Jewish families in Springfield both Reformed and Orthodox - about fifty-fifty, say representatives of both factions, and conforming to the census report on average American families, they number four and five persons to the household.  Among the early Jews in Springfield were:  Abram Aron, who came in 1853, perhaps not long after the arrival of Wolfson and Kauffman, and soon after came M. D. Levy, Louis Stern, Samuel Altschel, Sr., all of them Orthodox until after a time they became more liberal and affiliated with the Reformed Jews.  While Ohev Zedukah congregation was organized in 1869, the temple now occupied by it was built in 1917, and it is strictly modern.  It has a pipe organ, and excellent music is furnished by a mixed quartet of singers, the regular service being held Friday evening.
     The Orthodox Jews in Springfield worship in Temple Chessel Shad Ames, and each congregations maintains a local rabbi.  Temple Ohev Zedukah has Rabbie Simon Cohen, while Temple Chessel Shad Ames is served by Rabbi Samuel Shapiro.  While synagogue is the old-time designation of the Jewish house of worship, Temple is now in common usage.  The Reformed Jews use the Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship, the Hebrew and English rituals being in parallel columns.  Through the social order B'nai B'rith the Ohev Zedukah congregation keeps in touch with current questions, and in open meeting Rabbi Cohen Discussed the Ku Klux Klan.
     While it is said that the Jews constitute two per cent of the entire population of the United States, they are less than one per cent of the population in Springfield.  The Reformed Jews are best  known to the public, and through long years of residence they are Americanized; they conform to local customs.  The Orthodox Jews are a later acquisition, and they are still Oriental in their forms and ceremonies; however, most religions are from the Orient, this country only laying claim to Mormonism, Dowieism and Christian Science.  They require the kosher to superintend their diet, but since it is a matter of education as the Orthodox Jews become Americanized they are less dogmatic, as in the instance of Jacob Wolff, who changed his adherence.  Most Springfield Jews are naturalized citizens.
     While "Rich as a Jew" is a common expression, and the Jews are agreed that interest is a great invention, the Jews are not in control of the finances of the world.  While there are occasional outbreaks of anti-Semitism, the merest propaganda, these attacks are not of religious inspiration; they arise from the fallacy of charging the Jew with an ambition to rule the world.  The Springfield Jews cooperate in all community movements; they were active in all war measures, and they bought their share of Liberty bonds; they do not hold themselves aloof from community requirements.  The Jews take care of their own unfortunates, contributing to the National Tuberculosis Hospital in Denver, and to the Jewish Orphans' Home in Cleveland.
     When the nation-wide campaign was announced to raise $14,000,000 for the relief of the starving Jews in Russia growing out of war conditions, the Springfield quota was $11,000, and the Jews immediately set about raising the amount among themselves.  Springfield Jews celebrate the different feast days and holidays, and they always are represented in Jewish conventions.  Their numbers are overestimated because they are in business and come into direct contact with the public.  There are some octogenarian Jews in Springfield.  The Jewish burial plot is Section G in Ferncliff Cemetery, centrally located and kept in splendid condition.  Many Jews who die in other cities are brought back to Ferncliff.
     It is estimated that ninety per cent of the Jews in the United States live in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Connecticut, California, Maryland, Michigan and Indiana, and they are watching developments in Palestine under British and Jewish occupation, and in studying sacred history local Jews say that Jesus was crucified by order of a Roman Governor - that crucifixion was unknown among the Jews, and yet - well, the record before Pilate, who was a Roman, is available to those who wish to know for themselves.  Springfield Jews are interested in Hebrew Union College which has graduated 250 rabbis, and, under the leadership of Mrs. Simon Cohen, the women of Temple Ohev Zedukah are raising funds for it.


     The word citizen seldom applies to a Chinaman; he is less inclined to secure naturalization papers than other foreigners.  When H. G. Marshall opened a laundry in Springfield many years ago, people advised him against it; they said it would be a losing venture.  At that time the Jews and Chinese were the only foreigners in Springfield.  There were forty-three Chinese in town then, but recently they are fewer in numbers.  While the Japanese open restaurants, the Chinese adhere to laundries.  However local Chinamen no longer use the old-time "Chinese Laundry" hieroglyphics; they are pencil and paper, allowing patrons to write their own names when leaving parcels.


     While no statistics are at hand, it seems that Anthony Papania was the first Italian to locate in Springfield.  He came in the 'i0s, according to the "best recollections" of local Italians.  Among the early families are Papania, Rosselli and Riggio, and there are perhaps seventy-five Italian families in Springfield.  While Amato, Bosco and Longo are well known Italian names, they are later acquisitions to the community.  Many are venders of fruit and confections, and while many of them speak English, let a little inquiry be made among them, as this interview, and they immediately discuss the situation among themselves in Italian.  The  Stroller writing for a newspaper told of Joseph Panania, who for twenty years had been a shoe cobbler, sitting on the bench in one shop until he used enough wooden pegs to make a tree, and enough metal tacks to make a railroad iron; he had used miles of shoemaker's thread, and broken hundreds of needles.
     Upon a basis of 300 working days in one year, Papania had averaged handling five pairs of shoes in a day, and in twenty years he repaired 30,000 pairs of shoes.  In that time he had seen hundreds of patrons come and go, and still people come to his shop who came there twenty years ago.  The little boy with copper-toed boots now brings in his number ten shoes for repairs, and the little girl who brought her tiny slipper was bringing a French heeled shoe, and thus not all the Italians are fruit venders.  While most Italian families affiliate with Catholic churches and schools some have intermarried with Americans have educated their children in the public schools.  Anthony Cerisi was the first Italian in Springfield to volunteer in the World War, and the Italians bought Liberty bonds along with other citizens.  Springfield Italians are musical, and Edward Papania sings in grand opera.  He has had special training in Italy.


    A recent survey of the Greeks in Springfield developed the fact that the first Greeks in the community were three Lagos brothers, but in 1905, when the Vlahos brothers arrived, they had gone from the community.  There is now a "live wire" community of Greeks, and Jerome Courlas, who is a leader among them, estimates their number at 250, with very few Greek women among them.  Through the Hellenic Union Club, Mr. Courlas had accurate knowledge of most Greeks in Springfield.  Because they all belong to the Greek Orthodox Church - a form of Catholicism - the Greeks mingle more or less with the Bulgarians, Roumanians, Servians, Prussians and Armenians, worshipping together in Columbus and Dayton; they have no church in Springfield.  It is religious rather than social recognition, and young Greeks begin the naturalization process as soon as they are located in America.
     Many Springfield Greeks have already acquired full citizenship.  They were the only group of foreigners who marched in the war chest parade when Springfield Red Cross activities were claiming attention.  Twenty-seven Springfield Greeks entered the service in the World War.  There are fifty-seven Greek business establishments in Springfield, ranging from shining stands to theater management, with confectionery and restaurant enterprises leading among them.  It has come to the time when the Greeks feed the community.  Greece is a small, but populous empire, and the ambitious Grecians find better advantages in the New World.  While they enter mercantile pursuits in their own country, the Greeks in Springfield do not become clothiers or dry-goods merchants.  While Athens is a center of learning, many of the young Greeks secure an English education at night school in Springfield.


This Webpage has been created by Sharon Wick exclusively for Genealogy Express  2008
Submitters retain all copyrights