Aside from their involvement in the most lurid affair to afflict the Jewish community in Leadville, the Raabe family is otherwise remarkable for their fidelity to the classic American immigrant experience. Julius (born April, 1864, in Poland) and Clementina (née Kahn, born April, 1866 in Germany) left Schalback, Lorraine, then in Germany, for the New World in 1888 (although a year earlier is possible as indicated in the press report, but not so early as the 1880 date for Julius found in the 1900 census) with their first two children, Max (born April, 1885) and Rose (born February, 1887). A third child, Charles Samuel, was born in New York City (August, 1888).
Julius first appears in the Leadville city directories from 1890 to 1892 in a fruit and confectionery business at 223 Harrison Avenue and then in the cigar and confectionery business at 213 Harrison Avenue from 1894 until 1898. In 1899 he moved the shop to 221 Harrison Avenue and was living at 115 West 3rd Street. That year, fourteen year old Max joined his father at work as a clerk. In 1901 Max was recorded as residing at the business address along with a Simon Raabe (an otherwise unknown relative?). Then, in 1902, joined the rest of the family in a new home 200 West 3rd Street. The next relocation took the confectionery stand to 309 Harrison Avenue in 1903. After two years of stability, the Raabes found a new hearth at 307 1/2 Pine Street. Charles Samuel joined his older brother in the family endeavor during 1906, which was the last year that Max worked for his father. Two years later he is back in the directories as a dentist practicing at 501 Harrison Avenue, but 1908 proved to be the last listing for Julius's business.
Max maintained his office, in contrast to his father, in the same location for thirteen years, until 1921. In 1910 he lived alone at 108 West 6th Street, but in 1920 he was at home at 501 Harrison Avenue with his 32 year old wife Ethel M. Hartwell (born in Kansas and seemingly third generation American, married on May 20, 1917) and their year old son Max H. That the family lived in a commercial building with their practice was a sign of somewhat moderate circumstances and may tint as to why the Raabes decamped. They left as the most tangible evidence of their time in Leadville a stillborn infant in the Hebrew Cemetery, buried November 11, 1917.
The younger brother, Charles, followed the same lure working as a dentist with Max in 1911 and he opened an apparently competing dental practice in 1914 at 402 Harrison Avenue. Charles lived at 130 East 8th Street during 1914 and 1915, at 144 West 7th Street in 1916, and at his office address for 1917 and, perhaps, 1918.
This rather dry and distant recollection would be just another brick in the foundation of the American edifice were it not for the soap operaesque events surrounding Clementina's seduction by the neighboring jeweler, Ben Davies. By August of 1890 the blandishments offered by Mr. Davies led to the dissolution of the Raabe bond and to Julius's departure for Salt Lake City. He returned the following week to reclaim his business, but Clementina had already married her suitor and remained with the fifty year old widower until his death by fire on April 9, 1893. This union twice bore fruit: Lillian was born in August, 1891, and Harry during December, 1892. The enthusiastically written and informative newspaper accounts of these events delicately neglect the offspring, but provide a wonderful view of the era's mores. The most remarkable aspect of this saga is the denouement to be found in a marriage certificate dated October 5, 1893, reuniting Julius and Clementina. The 1900 census lists Lillian and Harry under the Raabe patronymic.
Copyright 2018 • Temple Israel Foundation • Leadville, Colorado