Born in New York
Married to Sarah Goldsmith
Occupation: Saloon Keeper, Theater Owner
Born in Russia
Married to Michael Goldsmith
Born in New York
Occupation Sign Painter, Stage Manager
Died in Leadville
Born in Missouri
Born in Missouri
Born in Illinois
Born in Illinois
Born in Illinois
Known Resident Addresses of the Goldsmiths in Leadville
1881: 192 S. Toledo Ave.
1882: 119 S. Toledo Ave.
1884: 139 W. 7th St.
1885 - 1891: 132* W. 7th St. (Neighbors of the Janowitzes, who lived at 132)
1892 – 1897: 122 W. 2nd St.
*In 1885, the Goldsmiths are listed as living at 134 W. 2nd St. in the Census, but in the 1885-91 Leadville City Directories they are listed as living at 132 W. 2nd St.
Michael Goldsmith was born in 1844 in New York City. Both his mother and father were from Germany. Michael married Sarah (maiden name unknown), a Russian immigrant who was born in 1846. Together they had a son, Moses, in 1863. After Moses’ birth the Goldsmiths lived in New York for a number of years. However, by the time of their first daughter’s birth, Nettie in 1868, they had relocated to Missouri. The next addition to the Goldsmith family was Jacob in 1871. The Goldsmiths then left Missouri and Birdie was born in Illinois during 1874. Birdie was followed by Albert in 1876 and Edward in 1880.
Subsequently the family moved to Leadville and Michael is listed in the 1880 City Directory as a barkeeper at the Gill & Dold on Oro Road. Michael did not remain a bartender, instead he went on to enter the theatre business. In 1882 Michael became the proprietor of The Globe Theatre (109 & 111 W 2nd St.), an acquisition which was originally decried as a “white elephant” in the Herald Democrat. Michael opened the theatre in March with his friend Mr. Lowe. The Herald Democrat place great faith in Michaels business acumen, “Mr. Goldsmith is not only an excellent business man, who has always enjoyed the reputation of paying his bills and hence has an excellent credit. No one more fully appreciates this fact than does the gentleman himself, and in order to retain this good name, Mr. Goldsmith would sacrifice everything he possesses. Fortunately, perhaps due to his reputation, Michael was able to turn The Globe Theatre into a successful operation.
During his time in Leadville, Michael ran a variety of theatres beside the Globe. These included the National Theatre in 1883 (210 Harrison Ave.), the Standard Theatre in 1885 (210 Harrison Ave.), the Carbonate Theatre from 1887-1888 (N. Pine, cor. 2nd St.), the Rocky Mountain Theatre in 1889 (116 W. 2nd St.), and the Mascot Theatre from 1894-1895 (122 W. 2nd St.). Michael returned to the Globe Theatre in 1897 (122 W. 2nd St.) When Michael was not in the theatre business he operated a saloon. Moses and Jacob were also active participants in Leadville’s economy. In 1881 Moses worked as a sign writer for Etell & Company. In the 1885 Census Moses is once again listed as a sign painter. Moses then disappeared from the records until 1889 when he became a stage manager for his father Michael at the Rocky Mountain Theatre. Jacob Goldsmith worked at his father’s saloon as a bartender from 1889 to 1894.
Michael had a large family and a busy theatre enterprise. This did not stop him from delving into other shenanigans. In February, 1881, Michael appeared in court for “procuring an abortion.” Next, in 1886, Michael was shot in the face during a disagreement at his theatre. Luckily he survived despite the fact “[his] face was almost blown into a thousand fragments.” In 1887, Goldsmith was sued by Laura LeClair. The suit prohibited two of Goldsmith’s actresses from performing at any venue other than LeClair’s for a period of four weeks. This was because the two actresses had violated a contract with LeClair in order to perform at Goldsmith’s theatre. This type of lawsuit was common and Goldsmith himself had used it before on his own offending actors.
The Goldsmiths had their share of tragedies in Leadville. In 1882 their daughter Birdie passed away due to fever. After the death of Birdie, Michael Goldsmith utilized his creative talents and placed a lyrical obituary in the Herald Democrat.
“Little Bertie Goldsmith”
“God bless our little darling
She’s left this world for rest;
Her sweet smiles we’ll never see again,
Battle with God is blest.
Her resting place we’ll cherish
Our Saviour’ll never forget
To welcome back to outstretched arms
Our Child who’s living yet.
Like all who have departed,
We’ll miss her from our home;
Her childish smile and happy laugh
Was none but her’s alone,
And now that she’s beneath the sod
God bless her evermore
Twill break our hearts (though she’s with God)
To miss her from our shore.
Oh, papa dear, I’m wandering off
To some strange land away;
Now don’t forget your good-bye kiss
To me while I delay,
And when I’m with the angels,
I hope you’ll always try
To think of “Little Bertie,”
Who with you will never die.
Leadville, June 7, 1882.”
After losing Birdie the Goldsmith’s were struck by another horrific tragedy. Jacob’s life was, unfairly and mistakenly, cut short in 1895 when he was only 24 years old. While walking home one night, Jacob was mistaken by Edward Banguerl as the man who had previously assaulted him that same night. Banguerl, in a fit of rash rage, shot Goldsmith down in the street. Banguerl confessed to the crime when police came to his home the following day inquiring about the murder. He stated his actions were in self-defense and that Goldsmith had held him up. The following trial declared Jacob was unarmed and Banguerl murdered him mistakenly, believing Goldsmith was the man who had previously attacked him earlier that same night. Edward Banguerl was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a verdict which carried up to ten year’s imprisonment. Jacob Goldsmith was subsequently buried in Leadville’s Hebrew Cemetery next to his sister Birdie.
After the murder of Jacob, the remaining Goldsmiths continued to reside in Leadville for a number of years. Life in the city was so quiet in 1897 that Ben Loeb, another infamous Leadville saloon and theatre owner, threatened to open a Sunday school ran by himself and Michael Goldsmith. Such an enterprise would have been highly unusual considering Loeb and Goldsmith were heavily involved in the entertainment industry, something not typically associated with Sunday schools.
Michael did not live the rest of his life in Leadville so he is not interred in the Hebrew Cemetery. He ceases to appear in the city directories after 1897. Edward lingers in the records a little longer working as a clerk for Pelta & Co. in 1897, the Freedheim Bros. in 1898, and Ed Jackson (a tailor) in 1899. It then appears that Edward left town. Michael’s wife Sarah and his children Birdie and Jacob are all buried in the Hebrew Cemetery. There is also a Louis Goldsmith buried in the family plot at the Leadville Hebrew Cemetery who died on June 11, 1882. Louis is listed as eighteen years old on his gravestone and it is likely he was a close relative of the Goldsmiths. Louis does not appear in city directories or the census records with the other Goldsmiths, so it is unlikely he was a member of their immediate family. After Sarah died in 1905 the remaining Goldsmiths (Michael, Moses, Edward, Nettie, and Albert) moved from Leadville. In 1912, the Herald Democrat noted the death of Edward Goldsmith who had been living in California where he died of tuberculosis.
1 U.S. Census Bureau. 1885 Census.
2 1880 Leadville City Directory
3 1882 Leadville City Directory
4 “A Day’s Record.” Leadville Daily Herald, April 26, 1882. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
5 “The Globe Theatre.” Leadville Daily Herald, March 3, 1882. Accessed August 16, 2016.
6 “A Day’s Record.” Leadville Daily Herald, April 26, 1882. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
7 1883 Leadville City Directory
8 1885 Leadville City Directory
9 1887 and 1888 Leadville City Directory
10 1889 Leadville City Directory
11 1894 and 1895 Leadville City Directory
12 1881 Leadville City Directory
13 U.S. Census Bureau. 1885 Census
14 1889 Leadville City Directory
15 1889 – 1894 Leadville city directories
16 “District Court.” Leadville Daily Herald, February 16, 1881. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
17 “Burns Release.” Herald Democrat, September 8, 1886. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
18 “The Legal Log.” Leadville Daily Chronicle, July 27, 1887. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
19 “Died.” Leadville Daily Herald, June 8, 1882. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
20 “Slayer is Captured.” Herald Democrat, May 11, 1895.
21 “Banguerel Is Bound Over.” Herald Democrat, May 15, 1895. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
22 “Legal Notices.” Colorado Democrat, June 5, 1895. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
23 Leadville Hebrew Cemetery
24 “Jottings In The Justice Courts.” Herald Democrat, January 21, 1897. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
25 Leadville Hebrew Cemetery
26 “Former Leadville Man Dies.” Herald Democrat, January 6, 1912. Accessed August 12, 2016. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org
Copyright 2016 • Temple Israel Foundation