Documentation of the developing American West tended to emphasize masculine enterprise, but occasionally the record yields strong hints of the importance of female pioneers and the strength of their personalities. The Greenwald history in Leadville appears to be an example of this phenomena. Deborah and Louis emigrated to New York from England in 1876 (the census records, especially for Deborah, are remarkably inconsistent and indicate that the respondant-most likely Deborah herself-had a somewhat cavalier, or perhaps imperious, attitude towards the enumeration which also seems to have affected Louis’ obituary) and was delivered of their first child, Jeanette, on November 7, 1876, in the booming port. Deborah Vigavano-Recardo was born, variously, in February of 1851, 1853, 1856, or 1857 in England, Spain, or Portugal. Her father is credited as being German, Spanish, or Portuguese while her mother was German, Spanish, Dutch, or Portuguese! Louis had a simpler history, if only because there is less data available. He was born in Germany, Poland, or Austria (all are possible considering Poland's unhappy geopolitical circumstances) in 1851 (or 1849).
Arriving early during Leadville's silver strike, the Greenwald's second daughter, Julia, was born late in December of 1878. By 1880, the family was at home on St. Louis Avenue to the rear of the Tabor Opera House and Louis was engaged as a glazier. In 1882 they were ensconced in the rear of 309 East 4th Street. The following year saw Louis return to the clothing trade of his ancestry as a peddler and move to a new home at 310 East 3rd Street. Stable until 1887, the Greenwalds then moved to 312 East 6th Street where they also maintained their clothing/dry goods enterprise. They were joined there during September, 1889, by their third daughter, Charlotte Theresa (the 1900 census reports that Deborah had been delivered of six children, but only three survived the old century). The two older children were schooled, strangely for a couple buried in the Hebrew Cemetery, at a convent school in Canada from 1883 or 1884 until 1892 and 1893.
Louis’ presumed brother, Zundel, and his wife, Sarah (born 1848), seem to have arrived in 1888 and settled at 110 1/2 West Chestnut Street. Zundel worked as a house painter and paper hanger. Zundel and Sarah were somewhat peripatetic. They lived at 127 West Chestnut Street in 1889, at 112 Harrison Avenue in 1890, and finally anchored themselves at 124 West Chestnut Street by 1891. Their life together ended tragically on May 16, 1893, when Sarah died and was placed to rest in the Hebrew Cemetery (Block C, Lot 18). Persevering, Zundel remained in Leadville until 1899, employing Harry Isaacs during 1897. A third brother died young in Poland but not before marrying Ester Silver and fathering her first daughter, Jenetta.
Names associated with this surname:
Prospering in business, Louis moved the business out of the family home in 1894 to a shop at 138 East 6th Street. This relocation may have helped accommodate what seems to have been a schism in the family as the 1899 city directory places Mr. Greenwald in the clothing business at the old address, 312 East 6th, and Mrs. Greenwald at the new one, 138 East 6th, which was also her and her two single daughters' residence according to the 1900 census. The notion of a separation is also supported by that census which shows Deborah to be divorced and the head of her household. Louis is absent from the 1900 census and the one in 1910 although Deborah appears throughout.
The family began its natural evolution in 1893 with the elopement of sixteen year old Jeanette that year. Her beau was Thomas P. Tobin (born December 22, 1868), a newspaperman who first saw Jeanette while she was performing at the local theater. They seem to have initially settled in Denver, but made a lifelong commitment to Shawnee, Oklahoma, in 1903. Mr. Tobin became a prominent publisher there, dying on December 9, 1930. The only issue of the couple, Julien, was born on September 10, 1899, and drowned during a picnic in Oklahoma on May 20, 1913. That Deborah was still upset with the nuptials even twenty years later is indicated in Louis' obituary of the preceding February wherein Jeanette's married name is omitted. Jeanette died in Shawnee in 1973.
Sometime before 1906 Julia married Emil R. Schayer, a relative of Adolph Schayer who was an important liquor dealer in old Leadville. The young couple worked together in the dry goods business on East 6th and lived at 144 West 7th Street. They may have had a daughter, Margaret, who tended to her elderly aunts in Oklahoma during the 1960s. The Schayers must have lived in Leadville at least until 1917, working at the dry goods business, and probably moved to Denver thereafter.
The youngest daughter, Charlotte, attended the University of Chicago during the middle part of the first decade of the twentieth century and was living with her sister's family in Shawnee by 1909, but seems to have been back in Leadville when her father passed. She died in Shawnee in 1976, a spinster.
Death of Louis Greenwald
(Carbonate Chronicle, March 3, 1913)
The funeral of Louis Greenwald, a merchant of Leadville for thirty-five years, who died early Wednesday morning after an illness extending over two years, will be held Friday at the residence, 138 East Sixth street. The funeral services will be in charge of the Rev. Greenwald, brother of the dead man.
Mr. Greenwald was born in Poland, Russia, 62 years ago. At an early age he went to London with his father where in partnership they conducted a clothing establishment. In 1876 he came to New York and for two years ran a branch establishment in the American metropolis.
In 1878 he came with a party of New Yorkers to Leadville where he opened a clothing establishment at 310 East Sixth street. Six years ago declining health prohibited him from taking an active interest in his business affairs, and since then they have been almost entirely in charge of his wife.
Five years ago the store was moved to its present location, 138 East Sixth street.
He is survived by a wife and three daughters, Jeanette, now in Shawnee, Okla., Mrs. Julia Schayer and Charlotte, both of whom are in Leadville.
A touching indication of reconciliation can be found in a marriage certificate, dated April 20, 1912, reuniting Louis and Deborah.
Deborah remained in Leadville until the 1920s, having relocated to 136 West 4th Street during 1916, but sometime before 1930 she moved to join Jeanette and Charlotte in Shawnee. Deborah had been supporting herself as a landlady and local records show that she divested herself of several parcels, both city lots and mining claims, beginning in 1928. Jeanette got the West 4th Street house in 1942 and Lottie the old house on East 6th in 1944. There is no record of any transfers to Julia. Other properties went to third parties. The number of holdings, and the foreign convent education for the two older girls, would suggest that Mrs. Greenwald controlled assets greater than those that would normally accrue from the earnings of a small clothing merchant.
Deborah died on July 24, 1945. She was placed to rest at Louis’ side in the Hebrew Cemetery in her 93rd year.
Copyright 2018 • Temple Israel Foundation • Leadville, Colorado