The Isaacs’ family story over three generations covered a long stretch of Leadville’s history. Beginning with Abraham’s first citation as a tailor at 306½ East 6th Street in the City Directory of 1883 through the 1931 reference to Hyman Issac’s (sic) store in the phone listings, the Isaacs were persistently present in Leadville’s dry goods trade. Abraham (b. ca. 1848) and his wife, Rebecka (b. ca. 1845), were natives of Russia. They immigrated during 1873 with their oldest sons, Harry (b. 1869) and Hyman (b. March, 1871), both born in England, to New York City where the next two children, Dora (b. 1874), and Rebecka (b. May, 1879), were born. [The census records for 1885 count the entire family twice and the 1900 census shows Hyman twice. The duplications show slight variances in address, names, date and location of births, etc. It was common during an era when census takers were paid by the line to pad the count and confuse the genealogist.] Abraham was a tailor who matured into the clothing business.
In 1884 he was engaged in his needlework at 113 East 4th Street. In 1885 his shop moved to 117 Harrison Avenue and his family occupied a residence at 114 West Chestnut Street. During 1886 a fifth child, Meyer, was delivered by Rebecka. The child survived only until December 21, 1892, and was interred in the Hebrew Cemetery (Block C, Lot 18, Grave 6). By 1887, 119 Harrison Avenue was the address of the clothing business and 117 Harrison Avenue was the family’s residence and the two addresses would be used interchangeably by the family for the next several years.
1888 saw the addition of sixteen year old “Hymie” to the business as a clerk and by 1890 he had risen to tailor. That year also saw Harry, then 21, employed as a painter. These circumstances remained constant through 1896. By 1897, Abraham seems to have retired from the business and it then appeared as Isaacs & Mitgang (H. Isaacs & A. Mitgang, props.) in its expanded premises from 117 through 123 Harrison Avenue where they sold second hand goods and Hymie matured into Hyman. Abraham was then living across the street at 120 Harrison Avenue and a year later was settled at 134 East 3rd Street whilst Hyman remained at 117 Harrison Avenue. Meanwhile, Harry was also living across the street at 116 Harrison Avenue and painting with Zundel Greenwald.
Names associated with this surname:
1899 had Hyman living at 209 West 3rd Street where he remained until 1904 (although the 1900 Census shows him owning the house at 128 West Chestnut Street). Harry had left painting by 1900 and joined his brother as a clerk at the clothing store while residing at 120 West Chestnut Street and then at 121 West 5th Street until 1904. It seems that Harry had married on November 4, 1900, to Annie Spiro, a lass of 18 from Austria who had immigrated in 1895.
Hyman, however, had beaten him to the alter with his 1896 nuptial to Celia (b. January, 1875), an 1892 or 1893 refugee from Poland Austria. They, in turn, followed the youngest sister, Rebecca, who had wedded Abraham Mitgang, Hyman’s partner, on June 13, 1895. This union was closely followed by the birth of Harry Mitgang during October. The child died January 26, 1896, and was buried in the Hebrew Cemetery (Block C, Lot 15, Grave 2).
Likewise, Hyman and Celia followed Rebecca to the Cemetery with a stillborn infant on July 15, 1897 (Block C, Lot 18, Grave 3). They were more successful in November, 1898, with the birth of Louis and again during March of 1900 when Sadie arrived. The family was completed by Charlotte in 1903. Meanwhile, Harry and Annie produced Helen in 1902 and Maurice in 1903. Another child, one year old Lillian, died on November 18, 1906, and was buried in the Hebrew Cemetery (Block C, Lot 17).
Harry left Isaacs & Mitgang in 1904 to establish his own clothing store at 219 Harrison Avenue which also served as the family’s home. That year, the last of the partnership with his brother-in-law, Hyman moved his family to 110 West Chestnut where they were to remain until 1913. Hyman moved his store, actually A. Isaacs & Son since 1905, to 205-209 Harrison Avenue in 1908 when Abraham seems to have finally left the business. Harry relocated his shop to 423 Harrison Avenue in 1909 while taking a residence at 140 East 8th Street during 1910. Harry moved again, in 1911, to 121 West 5th Street and then disappears from the local records until 1916.
During this time, Hyman was both employer and landlord in his home to both Maurice and Meyer Stager for various periods. Hyman occupied Harry’s old digs at 121 West 5th Street during 1913 and moved his business to 301-303 Harrison Avenue in 1916. Harry reappeared that year as the manager of the Model Clothing Store at 407 Harrison Avenue where the family also took residence through 1917. That was when nineteen year old Louis joined Hyman as a bookkeeper.
Telephone directories beginning in 1919 indicate that Hyman Isaacs, Haberdashery, number 265-W, was located at 405 Harrison Avenue until 1931. These records also show Louis living at 140 West 7th Street in 1922 and at 224 East 9th Street during 1923 and 1924. By 1931, as indicated in the newspaper advertisement below, Mike Phillips was the owner of the business. The date of the transfer from Hyman Isaacs is unknown.
Morris Issacs is noted in 1889 as being a tailor at 111 East 6th Street.
Hyman Isaacs Celia, Sadie, and Charlotte in about 1920.
Courtesy of the Lake County Civic Center Association
Hyman Isaac’s Store advertisement.
Leadville Herald Democrat,
November 8, 1930.
Copyright 2016 • Temple Israel Foundation