Isidore Grossmayer

Born 3rd, June 1843

Born in Germany

Married to Sophia Grossmayer

Died 29th April 1928

Died in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon


Sophia Grossmayer

Born 1851

Born in New York

Married to Isidore Grossmayer

Died 8th November 1921

Died in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon


Florence Grossmayer

Born 1884

Born in Colorado

Daughter of Isidore and Sophia


Theresa I Grossmayer

Born 1887

Born in Colorado

Daughter of Isidore and Sophia


Julia Grossmayer

Born June 1883

Born in Colorado

Died September 30, 1883

Possible daughter of Isidore and Sophia

Philip Grossmayer

Born 1880

Born in New York

Son of Isidore and Sophia


May Grossmayer

Born 1884

Born in New York

Married Philip Grossmayer


John P Grossmayer

Born 1906

Born in Oregon

Lives in Oregon in 1940

Son of Philip and Mae


Phyllis Grossmayer

Born 1912

Born in Oregon

Daughter of Philip and Mae


Theresa Grossmayer II

Born 1917

Born in Oregon

Daughter of Philip and Mae

Isidore Grossmayer was born in Germany in 1843.[1]   When he was only eight years old Grossmayer immigrated to New York City during 1851.[2]  A naturalization record[3]  filed for Isidore Grossmayer at the common pleas court in New York in 1874 reveals he worked then as a merchant.[4]   In 1878 Grossmayer married Sophia[5]  and they had a son, Philip in 1880.[6]   By 1884 the Grossmayers had moved to Leadville where their daughter Florence was born.[7]   After Isidore moved the family to Leadville, he began to work in Samuel Grossmayer’s toy shop, which had been started in 1883 at 427 Harrison Avenue.[8]   Given their shared last name and the fact that Isidore later came to manage Samuel’s shop, it is likely the two were relatives.

Names associated with this surname:

  • Isidore Grossmayer
  • Sophia Grossmayer
  • Florence Grossmayer
  • Theresa I Grossmayer
  • Julia Grossmayer
  • Philip Grossmayer
  • May Grossmayer
  • John P. Grossmayer
  • Phyllis Grossmayer
  • Theresa II Grossmayer

The Grossmayer family experienced a tragedy in 1883 when Julia passed away at only four months of age and was interred in the Hebrew Cemetery.[9]   In the 1910 census, Sophia is listed as having had a total of seven children.  Significantly, she only lists three children as still living.[10]   It is quite possible Julia was one of Sophia’s four deceased children.  1887 was a more fortunate year for Isidore and Sophia,  due to the birth of their daughter, Theresa.[11]


After 1885 Samuel no longer appears in the city directories and they show that in 1886 Isidore began managing Samuel’s old store[12] apparently for Moses Londoner,[13]  another Jewish Leadville merchant whose brother, Wolfe, went on to become the Mayor of Denver in 1889.  By 1888, Isadore had become the proprietor and thereafter the shop is listed variously as a toy, trunk, furniture and notions store.[14]   Notions are objects and trinkets such as souvenirs (tchotchkes).  Advertisements placed by Grossmayer in the Herald Democrat reveal the name of the store was “The Fair.”[15]   Grossmayer operated his notions store in Leadville until 1919.[16]   During this time his store relocated only once, in 1895, from 427 to 429 Harrison Ave.[17]   This testifies to the stability of his business as other Leadville businesses during this period would frequently change locations.  In addition to his business activities, Grossmayer was active in the Knights of Pythias.[18]   Grossmayer’s long stint in Leadville would give his children time to develop their own pursuits and interests.

Grossmayer’s daughter Theresa was active enough to appear in the newspaper several times.  In 1902, Theresa participated in a confirmation at Temple Israel by performing in the choir.[19]   In addition to her choir activities, Theresa also became a Sunday School teacher at Temple Israel in 1902.[20]   In February, 1903, the Grossmayers held a birthday party for Theresa and several children from Leadville’s other Jewish families attended, such as the Fogels, the Mayers, and the Heimbergers.[21]   Theresa appeared in the 1904 Honor Roll for Leadville High School.[22]


Philip gained some minor newspaper fame in 1888 when he took part in the Knights of Pythias parade.  According to the Herald Democrat, “Philip Grossmayer, the 9-year-old son of Mr. Isidor Grossmayer, of 427 Harrison avenue, attracted more attention perhaps than the grown-up knights, as he marched along with them in his miniature helmet and uniform.”[23]   When he became an adult, Philip contributed importantly to Leadville’s society.  In 1899, Philip worked as a cashier for Sands Bros.’ clothing store.[24]   From 1900 to 1903, Philip was a clerk for Stickley and Shaw Bros., insurance brokers.[25]   Finally, in 1904, Philip started his own endeavor, opening a branch of General Insurance at 1 Union Block (425-427 Harrison Avenue).[26]   On July 4th, 1904, Leadville celebrated its 25th anniversary and Philip was one of the committee members who were selected to help plan and manage the festivities.[27]   Grossmayer was a member of the Woodsmen of the World and was selected as an alternate silver camp delegate in 1905.[28]  Philip continued working at General Insurance until 1906 when he sold his branch to Fred Butler, a fellow Leadville Jew.[29]

After selling his business, Philip moved to Portland, Oregon,[30]  where he met and married May (nee ?).[31]   May was born in New York in 1884 and appears in the 1910 census as Philip’s wife.  Florence, Philip’s sister, also moved with him to Portland where she lived with him and his wife.[32]   Philip and May went on to have several children: John in 1906; Phyllis in 1912; and Theresa in 1927.[33]  In 1918, Isidore sold his  tchotchke shop and moved to Oregon to live closer to his children.[34]   Sophia passed away on November 8th, 1921.[35]   Isidore outlived his wife until April 29th, 1928.[36]   Both Grossmayers are buried in Portland, Oregon.  May passed away in 1943 and Philip in 1968.[37]

1 U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 Census.

2 Ibid.

3 This Naturalization Record is for an Isidore Grossmayer, who was born in Germany. However, it cannot definitively be tied to the Leadville Isidore Grossmayer.

4 New York Naturalization Index. 1874.

5 U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 Census

6 Ibid.

7 U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 Census

8 1883 Leadville City Directory

9 Leadville Hebrew Cemetery

10 U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 Census

11 U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 Census

12 1886 Leadville City Directory

13 1886 and 1887 Leadville city directories

14 1883 – 1918 Leadville city directories

15 “Advertisement.” Herald Democrat, June 11, 1899. Accessed September 12, 2016.

16 “Personal Mention.” Herald Democrat, April 9, 1919. Accessed September 12, 2016.

17 1895 Leadville City Directory

18 “The Knights of Pythias.” Leadville Daily Chronicle, September 17, 1888. Accessed September 12, 2016.

19 “At Temple Israel.” Herald Democrat, June 9, 1902. Accessed September 12, 2016.

20 “Jewish Sunday School.” Herald Democrat, March 24, 1902. Accessed September 12, 2016.

21 “Society.” Herald Democrat, February 1, 1903. Accessed September 15, 2016.

22 “Public School Column.” Herald Democrat, April 24, 1904. Accessed September 12, 2016.

23 “The Knights of Pythias.” Leadville Daily Chronicle, September 17, 1888. Accessed September 12, 2016.

24 1899 Leadville City Directory

25 1900 – 1903 Leadville city directories

26 1904 Leadville City Directory

27 “Committee Appointed For Big Celebration.” Herald Democrat, May 27, 1904. Accessed September 12, 2016.

28 “Around the City.” Herald Democrat, February 9, 1905. Accessed September 15, 2016.

29 “Fred Butler Resigns as Public Official.” Herald Democrat, January 10, 1906. Accessed September 12, 2016.

30 “Personal Mention.” Herald Democrat, January 23, 1906. Accessed September 12, 2016.

31 U.S. Census Bureau. 1910 Census.

32 Ibid.

33 U.S. Census Bureau. 1920 Census.

34 “Personal Mention.” Herald Democrat, April 9, 1919. Accessed September 12, 2016.

35 Find a Grave Index: River View Cemetery: Portland, Oregon.

36 Ibid.

37 Find a Grave Index: Riverview Abbey Mausoleum and Crematory: Portland, Oregon.

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