Biography
Walpensky
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Aaron Walpensky
(also Wolpsky, Walpansky, Walpiansky) [1]
Born: 1865
Died: 1918 (Leadville)
Married to: Minnie Oliner
In Leadville: 1902-1918

Minnie (née Oliner) Walpensky [2] (later Walpin)
Born: 1875
Died: April 3, 1954
Married to: Aaron Walpensky
In Leadville: 1898-1918

Jacob H Walpensky (later Walpin) [3]
Born: March 15, 1902
Died: March 15, 1973
Married to: Sara Lehrman (1931)
In Leadville: 1902-1918

Helen Walpensky (later Walpin)
Born: 1901
Died: Unknown
Married to:
Kenneth Weger (1920-1922),
Frank J Monahan (1924-1938)
In Leadville: 1903- 1918

The Walpenskys (also spelled Wolpsky, Walpusky, Walpansky, Walpin) were a Russian-Jewish family who lived in Leadville during the early twentieth century and operated a grocery store at the southwest corner of 6th and Pine Street for nearly 20 years. Aaron Walpensky was born in Russia in approximately 1865 and immigrated to the United States in 1886. Details of his early years in the United States are relatively unknown. Like many Jewish immigrants of the 19th and 20th Centuries, he spent his early years in the East. Specifically, he lived in Norwich, Connecticut, between at least 1889 and 1892. [4] While in Norwich, he worked as a tailor and gained US citizenship in 1892 before moving West for different opportunities. Aaron’s wife, Minnie (nee Oliner), spent her late teenage years in Leadville, and probably lived with her parents and brother at 311 Pine Street in the house behind Temple Israel in the last years of the 1890s. Her parents, Herman and Hanna Oliner rented the house between 1898 and 1911 and Minnie probably lived there between the arrival of the family from Austria-Hungary in 1898 until 1900, when she married Aaron Walpensky.

The first evidence of Aaron in Leadville was his marriage to Minnie Oliner (spelled Olena) on April 1, 1900. The ceremony was conducted at Leadville’s Orthodox Synagogue at 119 West 5th Street and was officiated by “acting rabbi” Adolph Schayer. The festivities lasted well into the night, and all attendees were dressed in fine clothes, according to a local newspaper. [5] The reporter noted that the couple were planning to make their home at 138 West 5th Street; although they did not appear at this address in the 1900 census, nor in the city directory. [6] However, this was probably their residence for the next several years. Their first child- daughter Helen- was born sometime in 1901.

Minnie and Aaron were married in this converted Presbyterian church in April of 1900.

Minnie and Aaron were married in this converted Presbyterian church in April of 1900. Shown here in 1892 shortly before the building was acquired by Leadville’s Orthodox congregation, Knesset Israel.

Brisbois photograph number 218.

This 1902 or 1903 photograph shows Helen Walpensky as a baby seated with Herman and Hanna Oliner, her maternal grandparents.

This 1902 or 1903 photograph shows Helen Walpensky as a baby seated with Herman and Hanna Oliner, her maternal grandparents.

Temple Israel Collection, 1993.08.001.

Available documents state that Jacob was born in Leadville in March of 1902; despite the lack of evidence in city directories for their presence in the city during that year. [7] By 1903 Aaron was finally listed as a resident of the city with the occupation of peddler. [8] While it is clear the family lived in Leadville for at least 3 years prior to this, it is interesting to note they were able to avoid both Federal census enumerators in 1900 and directory recorders between 1900, 1901, and 1902.

In any case, it is clear that by 1903 Aaron lived at 416 West 2nd with wife Minnie, son Jacob, and daughter Helen. In June of 1903, the family made their first appearance in local newspapers under unfortunate circumstances. On the 16th of that month, Aaron filed a criminal complaint against a young man named Eddie O’Brien for harassing his family. [9] Aaron claimed the O’Brien and his gang terrorized his family, “until his patience was exhausted”. Aaron complained that several of the boys called him “Jew” to which he took offence. The report went into detail regarding additional offences Aaron and the family endured from the hooligans including,

“…[O’Brien] arranged a ’Dutch fiddle’ in front of [Aaron’s] house and made the night hideous with the unearthly noises produced on the demonic instrument; have thrown rocks at him and his house; cut his screen door and frightened his wife and children so badly that they thought they were in Russia. Wolpsky alleged that he had to call in a physician to attend his wife because of the effects of the fright resulting from the mischievous pranks of the boys”.

Eddie O’Brian was arrested by a constable and released on bail for a later trial. No other mention of the outcome of the trial or the family as a whole could be found for 1903.

Aaron’s family name was spelled “Wolpsky” for several years in newspapers and is listed thus in both the 1903 and 1904 city directories. As we will see, in 1905 the spelling changed to the more common Walpensky. This is an often encountered rearrangement of vowels among immigrants and was likely a result of Aaron’s inability to spell his name to enumerators and record keepers. Indeed, some years later, a Denver newspaper interview of Aaron revealed that he was in fact illiterate. In 1904, the family were residents of 330 West 2nd Street (less than a block east of their 1903 residence). That year, Aaron was employed as a peddler by Ed Knopf, a fruit stand operation located at 112 East 6th Street, according to the city directory. [10] Neither Aaron or the family appeared in newspapers during 1904 or 1905.

In 1905, the family resided at the same address on West 2nd and Aaron was again listed as a fruit peddler, this time without affiliation to Ed Knopf. This was the first and only year in which the family’s last name was spelled “Wolpansky” in city directories; an obvious variation of the later “Wolpensky” and a progression from the previous “Wolpsky”. [11]

In 1906, the family moved to 201 West 6th Street; the location they would occupy and run their business from for the next 12 years. That year, the family business expanded from fruits to more general groceries and eventually liquor and wine. Both Minnie and Aaron were listed in the city directory as associated with the store. For unspecified reasons, the store was officially known as “M. Walpansky” only that single year. After 1906 the store was consistently listed as “A. Walpensky” in city directories. [12] The “M” most likely stood for Minnie; other Jewish merchants in Leadville such as Abraham Sandusky did business under the name of their wife (J. Sandusky) around the same time. This is likely explained by the fact that Aaron was illiterate, while Minnie was not; she probably did the paperwork and other administrative activities involving registration of the business in writing, and thus may have been listed as the associated name by default. Whatever the reason for the name change, it is clear that both Minnie and Aaron were responsible for the operation of the store. In September of 1906, Aaron appeared as a delegate for his precinct in that year’s Lake County Republican primaries. [13]

The Walpenskys moved into this building at 201 West 6th Street in 1906 and stayed until 1917.

The Walpenskys moved into this building at 201 West 6th Street in 1906 and stayed until 1917. They lived on the second floor and conducted the “West Side Grocery” on the first floor. Unfortunately, no historic images of the building are known.

Image courtesy of Google Maps Street View.

Advertisement for West Side Family Liquor Store and Cash Grocery highlighting the recent stocking of inventory of fancy wines and liquors.

Advertisement for West Side Family Liquor Store and Cash Grocery highlighting the recent stocking of inventory of fancy wines and liquors.

Just Returned [advertisement]. The Herald Democrat. April 14, 1908. Page 3.

In early 1907, another unfortunate event visited the Walpensky family. According to an article published in November, one of Aaron and Minnie’s children contracted scarlet fever. While the article was not specifically about the child, it detailed the arrest of several doctors and boarding house owners who had conspired to violate a citywide scarlet fever quarantine. The Walpensky child was brought up in a criminal complaint filed by a real estate agent named Daniel Healy. While the complaint was not against Aaron or Minnie, Daniel Healy made a statement to the Leadville City council that the Walpenskys rented the house at 133 West 6th Street for one of their children who had contracted scarlet fever; presumably as a way to quarantine the child from the rest of the family, as well as customers of the grocery store. Several months later, the child was well enough to return to 201 West 6th. Healy claimed that no one informed him that the child had lived in the house with the disease, and although he had cleaned and fumigated after the child moved out, no one would rent it. When another young woman tried to rent the same house to quarantine her child sick with scarlet fever, Healy filed the complaint. The quarantine violation did not specifically implicate Aaron or Minnie, but it was clear that Healy was frustrated with families renting “respectable houses” for the use of quarantining sick children. [14] Throughout the remainder of 1907, the family did not appear in local newspapers, and presumably continued to live at and operate their store on the corner of Pine and 6th Street without further incidents.

In February of 1908, Aaron departed on an extensive trip to the east coast, including visits to St. Louis, Cincinnati, New York, Newark, Boston, and Hartford. The short notice in the Herald Democrat stated that the trip was combined business and leisure. [15] He returned to Leadville in mid-April. Several interesting insights into his past can be identified from the notice of his return. [16] Among these were the fact that he lived in Norwich, Connecticut, evidence which can be substantiated by his citizenship naturalization card, which was issued in Norwich in late October of 1892. [17] Additionally, this notice was the first time his store was referred to as “West Side Grocery”- a name Aaron would eventually officially adopt. The following day, Aaron published the first of many advertisements for his grocery store. The advertisements ran for much of the spring and summer of 1908. Perhaps as a result of increased business, in July, Aaron advertised that he wanted to buy a “good driving horse”. [18] While advertisements became less frequent, Aaron and Minnie doubtlessly continued to operate the store throughout the remainder of 1908.

In the spring of 1909, Aaron again volunteered as a delegate for the local Republican party primary. [19] Curiously, in 1909 in addition to Aaron, Jacob was also listed in that year’s city directory as a resident of 201 West 6th Street. It is usual for such a young child- Jacob would be 7 or 8 years old at the time- to have been listed in the directory. Whether this is son Jacob, or another related Jacob altogether is unknown. [20]

While 1909 ended as a relatively uneventful year for the Walpenskys, in early October, it was reported in local newspapers that Aaron was the victim of a horse thief. An extensive report in the Herald Democrat of October 8 entitled “In Pursuit of Walpansky’s Nag” detailed the colorful series of events. The newspaper reported 3 men had calmly climbed onto Aaron’s “rig”- probably a small cart or other horse drawn vehicle- and drove off. When Aaron noticed the theft, he ran to inform the Sherriff, who promptly assigned a deputy named Gaffney to help recover the rig and arrest the thieves. It was somehow learned that the thieves were headed over Tennessee Pass toward Pando- known today as Camp Hale. According to the report, the rig the deputy Gaffney and Aaron commandeered for the pursuit was slow, but they eventually caught up within sight of the stolen rig on the north side of the pass. Although Aaron and the deputy spotted the thieves, they could not catch them. Thinking quickly, the deputy Gaffney found a “camper” near Pando with a “swift saddle-horse”, borrowed it, and “made a Paul Revere dash to Red Cliff”. With the help of the Red Cliff police, deputy Gaffney eventually found Aaron’s stolen rig abandoned on the outskirts of the town. It was surmised that the thieves had boarded a train to make their final escape. Gaffney tried to pursue the thieves by train as far as Glenwood Springs but could not find them. Meanwhile, Aaron returned to Leadville, apparently unaware or unwilling to pay the camper the expenses of the saddle-horse deputy Gaffney borrowed. When Gaffney returned to Leadville the following morning,

he was instructed to collect the compensation owed to the camper by brining Aaron to the County Courthouse. At that point, “…Walpensky, it is alleged, became possessed of the idea that the officer was going to take him to jail without a warrant.” It is unclear if Gaffney or Aaron struck first, but ultimately Aaron punched Gaffney in the face, and escaped back to his store. Both men filed assault charges against the other soon after. Apparently, despite the scuffle, the man from whom the saddle-horse was borrowed was soon after compensated. [21] The following day at the assault trial, Judge Connors dismissed both cases and neither Aaron or Gaffney was charged. [22] Five days later, on October 13, the Eagle County Sherriff apprehended three men at a railroad camp outside of Red Cliff with no alibi. Additionally, Aaron positively identified the men as “loafers in derby hats” he noticed shortly before the theft of his rig. The Herald Democrat also made some fun of Aaron’s “sleuthing” when he identified the cigarettes the men had been smoking in his stolen rig. [23] Despite the fact that the press did not entirely take Aarons accusations seriously, it was clear that the sheriff’s office did, however, it is unclear if the three men were ever charged.

While Aaron and Minnie did not appear in Leadville newspapers for social events associated with Leadville Jewish life, or other social activities, Aaron was listed in the American Israelite at the end of 1909 as a donor to the Denver’s National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. [24]

In December, Aaron again began a new advertising campaign, reminding his customers they would receive a discount by paying in cash. These advertisements appeared daily in Leadville newspapers well into 1910. In February of 1910,r an unusual short notice in the “Around the City Column” unfavorably centered around Aaron. Beginning with the tagline, “Walpensky, Here’s Your Watch” a group associated with the Midland Railroad claimed that they were in possession of Aaron’s diamond studded timepiece after it was stolen by some “friends” who were “joshing”. Aaron was apparently shopping at the Midland depot for supplies for his store at the time. Whether this was a joke at Aaron’s expense will never be known, and it is difficult to discern the reasoning or progression of events, or indeed if a crime was committed. The final line of the notice, “Of course it is expected Walpensky will ‘buy’ when he gets [the watch] back”, seems to indicate a less than friendly note to the affair. [25]

In April of 1910, a United States census enumerator recorded Aaron, age unknown, Minnie age 29, Helen age 9 and Jaky age 8 were residents of 201 West 6th Street. Minnie was listed as “Hungarian Mygar” as her origin, and Aaron “Russian Yiddish”. Both Aaron and Minnie were naturalized citizens; Minnie was naturalized in 1898 and Aaron in 1886. The house was rented, and Aaron was listed as doing business in his own account. Curiously, the enumerator recorded that Aaron could both read and write, which as we will see, was probably not true. As an additional demographic note, that year, 4 neighbors in the immediate vicinity were black, suggesting some ethnic diversity in Leadville at the time. [26]

Holiday advertisement for West Side Cash Grocery with special holiday prices.

Holiday advertisement for West Side Cash Grocery with special holiday prices.

Special Holiday Prices [advertisement]. The Herald Democrat. December 14, 1909. Page 9.

The following summer of 1910 was again eventful in an unfortunate way for the Walpenskys. Like the previous report in 1903, Aaron again complained to city officials of harassment from a gang of neighborhood boys. This time however, he had a different strategy. During a City Council meeting on the evening of July 19th, Aaron presented spent firecrackers, nails, and a destroyed railroad crossing sign as evidence of 5 years of harassment he had endured. After presenting the articles, he asked the Mayor and city council if he could be deputized as a special officer to arrest the perpetrators. He claimed that when Leadville police were called, they were too slow and could never catch the boys in the act of abusing him and his family. He claimed the boys, “set off fireworks in the shape of red fire” at all hours of the night. The council voted to give power to the police committee to act on the issue. It was not revealed if Aaron was indeed later deputized or not. [27] Throughout the remainder of 1910 and into early 1911, the store continued to operate, but no further incidents visited the family.

In January of 1911, a lighter incident visited the store. After Aaron took delivery of a barrel of German carp, he set them out to thaw on a counter. Moments later, one of the fish came to life and began to flop around the store. He called Minnie who instructed him to save the fish and put in a dish filled with water. Ever the journalistic wit, the reporter made a clear reference to a play on words of “Carpe Diem” when he wrote, “…Mrs. Walpensky seized the carp…”. The carp was taken to the Leadville Water Company, where it was put in an aquarium. Apparently, there was already a menagerie of fish collecting in a tank at the water company. Aaron’s living carp was put in with a savage albino trout who had already eaten several other fish. The reporter speculated extensively on how long the carp would last. [28]

One month later, Aaron was listed as a member of jury which tried a jail inmate named Curley with the theft of a stick pin- a tie ornament- from a fellow prisoner. The jury- which also included fellow Jewish shopkeeper Joseph Harwitz- rendered a guilty verdict and Curley was sent to the state penitentiary in Buena Vista. [29] At the end of 1911, Aaron published a new set of advertisements which touted a deal on sugar, in addition to a claim that he was not controlled by “The Trust”. Another set of advertisements claimed, “Save Money By Buying From Walpensky: He Pays No Rent and Hires No Clerks”; clearly he was indirectly conveying that he had low overhead and did not charge as substantial a mark-up as a result. [30] Aaron may have not hired clerks, but certainly Helen, Minnie and Jacob doubtlessly served the role.

Advertisements for the grocery store continued regularly into early 1912. In February 1912, Aaron was listed as an attendee of a Republican Lincoln Day dinner in Denver with former state governor and Leadville resident Jesse McDonald. [31] The following month, Aaron again volunteered as a delegate, as well as set up his store as a polling place during the Republican primary, which decisively nominated Roosevelt for his presidential bid. [32]

Interestingly, in the 1912 Leadville city directory, Aaron was documented as operating two separate stores. One was the previously mentioned grocery, whose name evolved into “West Side Cash Grocery” and the other was a “notions” store, located at 502 Harrison Avenue. This storefront in 2020 is the entrance and bar of Chinese restaurant “Szechwan Taste II”. This short-lived store was called “Walpansky & Son” in the directory, and “The Racket Store” in newspaper advertisements. [33] Interestingly, son Jacob was listed separately from Aaron as an associate. Jacob would have been only 9 or 10 years old at the time; however, it is likely that even at that age, Jacob was somehow associated, if not solely in name, certainly as an employee of sorts. However, this was the only year in which a non-family employee of either Walpensky store was listed in city directories; “Miss Nellie C. Sullivan” was listed as a clerk of the Racket store. [34] The Racket store advertised daily beginning in mid-November of 1912 before abruptly disappearing several months later. The remainder of 1912 was uneventful for the family, until the final days of the year when another unfortunate incident befell Aaron.

Advertisement for Walpensky’s Grocery stating that they are not controlled by the trust.

Advertisement for Walpensky’s Grocery stating that they are not controlled by the trust.

Don’t Shout! [advertisement]. The Herald Democrat. December 7, 1911. Page 10.

Advertisement for The Racket Store selling items for a nickel, dime, or quarter.

Advertisement for The Racket Store selling items for a nickel, dime, or quarter.

The Desire To Buy Can Be Gratified At Little Cost [advertisement]. The Herald Democrat. November 17, 1912. Page 6.

In late December, Aaron was robbed of nearly $1000 while in Denver. The story was first published in a short form throughout the nation, and newspapers in Omaha, Salt Lake, and Los Angeles, as well as throughout Colorado. All told nearly the same short version; which Aaron later claimed to be false. [35] In a series of later articles, which did not see much publication beyond Leadville, Aaron told what he claimed to be the fuller and more accurate story of his mugging. On December 30, Leadville’s Herald Democrat reported that Aaron called Minnie on the telephone shortly after the robbery and reported he did not feel well and had been hit in the head by the robbers. Minnie became distraught and claimed that a conspiracy of thieves had also broken into their store the previous month. In the December 30 article, Aaron was reported to have been distracted by two men, who took him to a dark alley, gagged him, and stole $935 in bank drafts which were in his name. While the sum was large, Minnie claimed these could not easily be cashed without suspicion. The report published on the 30th did not include Aaron’s version of the story; it was clear that the sensation his holdup provided hastened the Leadville reporters to talk to Minnie, even before Aaron returned to Leadville to tell the story directly. Clearly, the story leaked out on a wire from the press and was distributed swiftly throughout the nation- but inaccurately. [36]

On January 2, 1913, Aaron returned and immediately claimed that newspapers and police in Denver had twisted his story into a fabrication. He claimed he was simply attacked in a dark alleyway while on the way to a theater and robbed. This was in contrast to the widely published story which stated he was mugged after being greeted with a confusing, “Hello friend…” He denied he was hit in the head or gagged by the men, but said he instead fainted in a nearby hotel lobby after the robbery. Aaron claimed to have been most outraged by the fact that the Denver police detectives later forced him to pay for a round of drinks for a crowd of onlookers and then denied the validity of the story. The police said that carrying such a large sum of money was suspicious and he defended himself as quoted, “’I cannot write. When I use checks my wife has to write them. My trips to Denver are nearly always for the purpose of buying job lots of goods. I cannot make out checks for the purchases, so I have to carry actually cash. Besides, when you have actual cash with you there is a better chance to do business with jobbers…’” He was further quoted as anxious over creditors who may see the story of his robbery and come to collect his debts. He also claimed to have been cheated from $75 for drinks for the police and medical bills. “’Denver is a bad town, a very bad town’”, he concluded. [37]

Short article in The Herald Democrat describing the personal robbery of Aaron Walpensky while he was in Denver.

Short article in The Herald Democrat describing the personal robbery of Aaron Walpensky while he was in Denver.

Walpensky Is Robbed. The Herald Democrat. December 28, 1912. Page 1.

In February, Minnie was listed as a delegate to the county Republican primary election, which had been substantially shaken by the “Progressive” wing of Theodore Roosevelt’s Republican party that year. [38] The remainder of the year was relatively quiet in the Walpensky household. In early March, “The Racket”- previously mentioned discount notions store at 502 Harrison operated jointly by Aaron and son Jacob- advertised a “bankruptcy sale”. In the advertisement, it is clear that “notions” was another name for kitchen supplies. Aaron listed fine china, washbasins, pie pans, mixing bowls, and other kitchen ware among the items in the sale. After appearing regularly in advertisements since November, 1912, the Racket store abruptly disappeared after the bankruptcy sale and was not listed in the 1913 Leadville city directory. [39]

In October 1913, Aaron was again listed as a juror in a county court trial. This time, a Mexican by the name of Noloz was accused of attempting to steal a diamond from a local jeweler. Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, Noloz claimed he was drunk at the time of the theft and did not intend to steal anything. The jury deliberated for a mere 5 minutes and declared Noloz not guilty. [40]

By November, one of the Walpensky children was again stricken with scarlet fever and a house by house quarantine was issued for 14 families- including the Walpenskys- whose children were sick. [41] The outcome of the sickness did not make further news, and presumably, whichever child was stricken- whether it was Helen or Jacob was not specified- recovered. Throughout the remainder of 1913 and into the early days of 1914, Aaron advertised prolifically, with a heavy emphasis on wine and liquor for the Christmas holidays. These advertisements stopped abruptly in mid-January 1914 and, although the store continued to operate for another 4 years, advertisements did not appear in Leadville newspapers again. In November, an advertisement for the baking powder brand “Calumet” ran in local newspapers for several days in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Aaron’s store was listed as among 15 other grocery stores in Leadville which carried the product. [42] In June, Jacob-appearing as Jake- made a brief appearance at that year’s High School graduation ceremony at the Elk’s Opera House as the orator of an address titled “The Boy With A Purpose”. He was probably a freshman or sophomore that year and probably possessed some rhetorical skill to have been chosen for the role. [43] In early September, Minnie went to the county Board of Equalization to appeal for a re-adjustment of that company’s assessments. [44] The following week, Aaron and Jacob went to the state fair in Pueblo. [45]

While advertisements for Aaron’s West Side Cash grocery did not appear in Leadville newspapers during 1916, the family were mentioned several times in low profile social columns. Presumably the store continued to operate at Pine and West 6th as it was listed in that year’s city directory. [46] In early January, Aaron was listed as an attendee of Denver’s stock show. [47] That spring, Jacob appeared in a local public school notice as a participant in a club debate on the topic, “Resolved that it is better to live in a cold climate than hot climate”- Jacob argued in the negative for cold climate. [48] By late October, Aaron began to suffer from an unknown health condition. According to a Salida newspaper, Helen visited her father after an operation in the Red Cross hospital in that city. He was predicted to make a full recovery. [49]

The store continued to operate in 1917 and was listed in the directory that year although no advertisements were published in local newspapers. [50] Starting in 1917, an unfortunate series of events lead to a rapid decline in Aaron’s health and the well-being of the family. In mid-October of 1917, it was announced that Aaron was in route to Denver for medical treatment of his eyes with plans to travel later to Hot Springs, Arkansas. [51] The outcome of the trip is uncertain, but by November of 1917 a short notice revealed that Aaron’s mailing address had been modified. [52] By January, a clear deterioration in Aaron’s metal health occurred and the family quickly departed from Leadville.

On January 28th 1918, the Herald Democrat received a telegram stating that Aaron had attempted suicide at the family’s new house in Denver The short notice revealed that Aaron and relocated the family from Leadville to 2527 Welton Street merely “a few weeks” before the suicide attempt. He was reported to have been despondent since the move and unable to find work. Minnie witnessed the attempt and immediately called an ambulance to take Aaron to the county hospital. While he survived the initial attempt, it was stated that he was not expected to recover. At the end, the notice mentioned that Helen was 16 and Jacob one year youngerr. A notice in the Svesk-Americanska Western on January 31 read very similar to notices published in Leadville. Curiously, this mention in the Swedish language newspaper was the only one in which a Denver newspaper mentioned the incident. [53] Evidently, Aaron passed away by the end of the year. While an obituary cannot be located by this researcher, Aaron was buried in Pueblo’s B’nai Jacob cemetery in late 1918. [54] His gravestone states in Hebrew that he died on December 14, 1918, (11 Tevet 5679) suggesting he languished for nearly a year after his suicide attempt or perhaps recovered for a short time. [55] Pueblo was formerly the location of a mental hospital and Aaron may have been sent there following his recovery in Denver. However, no further mention of his condition after he was admitted to Denver County Hospital could be found in documents or newspapers. Why he was buried in Pueblo and how he managed to live so long after such a short prognosis by doctors is unknown. B’nai Jacob is known to be an Orthodox cemetery and indeed many have been his or the family choice for this reason. Otherwise, no other connections to Pueblo are known to exist.

Following Aaron’s death, Helen, Jacob and Minnie continued to live in Denver. Curiously, they were listed as living in separate locations in the 1918 Denver city directory. Jacob was still listed as a resident of 2527 Welton Street, Helen a resident of 521 Logan, and Minnie at 1337 Grant. [56] Helen worked at an electrical company and Jacob a bookbinder. It is unknown if Helen or Jacob graduated from high school, but given the financial strain on the family at the time, it is unlikely. In August of 1920, Jacob visited Leadville a final time with a friend named Frank Grove. [57] By 1920, Helen and Minnie were living in a boarding house at the corner of 15th and Glenarm. [58] At some point shortly after 1920, the family changed their name to “Walpin”. Minnie lived the remainder of her life in Denver and was buried in Denver’s Mt. Nebo Park Cemetery in 1954. [59]

Jacob married Sara Lehrman in 1931 and lived the remainder of his life in Denver and passed away in 1973. Helen married Kenneth Weger in July of 1920. Her later life and movements are unknown. [60]

The Walpenskys endured a frenetic life in Leadville’s later era. Although they were not present for the vast economic expansion during the 1880s, Leadville continued to be a vital city well into the 20th century as evidenced by the successful business Aaron and the family conducted for over a decade. Unlike many other historic commercial structures off Harrison Avenue, the building from which Aaron and the family made their home and business is still standing, and in good condition. Today it is a yoga studio and hair salon, although it remained a neighborhood grocery store into the 1980s.

1 Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Aaron Walpensky (1865–14 Dec 1918), Find a Grave Memorial no. 41175185, citing BNai Jacob Cemetery, Pueblo County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Michael Harrington (contributor 46760007) .
2 Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Minnie Walpin (1875–1954), Find a Grave Memorial no. 127053890, citing Mount Nebo Memorial Park, Aurora, Arapahoe County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by WalksWithAngels (contributor 47205696) . and The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Colorado, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 253 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
3 Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Jacob H. Walpin (15 May 1902–15 May 1973), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170916428, citing Congregation Emanuel Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by SwHoot (contributor 49054756) .
4 1889 Norwich and Preston City Directory p. 237
5 “Married” Herald Democrat, April 2, 1900 p. 8
6 1900 United State Census Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
7 The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Colorado, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 253 Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
8 1903 Leadville City Directory p. 324
9 “Around the City” Herald Democrat, June 16, 1903 p. 3
10 1904 Leadville City Directory p. 190 and p. 327
11 1905 Leadville City Directory p. 324
12 1906 Leadville City Directory p. 331
13 “Republican Primaries Held” Herald Democrat, September 11, 1906 p. 8
14 “Four Facing Police Court” Herald Democrat, November 20, 1907 p. 1
15 “Long Eastern Trip” Herald Democrat, February 22, 1908 p. 5
16 “Returns from Long Eastern Trip” Herald Democrat, April 13, 1908 p. 5
17 "United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-ZW9H-NW?cc=1840474&wc=M6Y6-NZS%3A165321001 : 20 May 2014), Connecticut V453 (Adolfe) - W424 (Wladisaw) > image 4424 of 5464; citing NARA microfilm publication M1299 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
18 “Wanted” Herald Democrat, July 4, 1908 p. 4
19 “Republican Call” Herald Democrat, March 12, 1909 p. 6
20 1909 Leadville City Directory p. 274
21 “In Pursuit of Walpensky’s Nag” Herald Democrat, October 8, 1909 p. 3
22 “Both Cases Dismissed” Herald Democrat, October 9, 1909 p. 5
23 “Trailed Them By Cigarette Stubs” Herald Democrat, October 13, 1909 p. 5
24 “National Jewish Hospital For Consumptives-Denver” American Israelite, November 11, 1909 p. 3
25 “Walpensky, Here’s Your Watch” Herald Democrat, February 15, 1910 p. 5
26 Year: 1910; Census Place: Leadville Ward 3, Lake, Colorado; Roll: T624_121; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 137413 Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
27 “Walpensky Would be A Policeman” Herald Democrat, July 20, 1910 p. 5
28 “Frozen Carp Came Back” Herald Democrat, January 17, 1911 p. 5
29 “Cheap Stick Pin His Downfall” Herald Democrat, March 16, 1911 p. 7
30 Herald Democrat, December 30, 1911 p. 3
31 “Around the City” Herald Democrat, February 13, 1912 p. 5
32 “Close Result in Lake County” Herald Democrat, March 23, 1912 p. 3
33 1912 Leadville City Directory p. 261
34 1912 Leadville City Directory p. 249
35 “Walpensky Is Robbed!” Herald Democrat, December 28, 1912 p. 1
36 “How Walpensky Was Sandbagged” Herald Democrat, December 30, 1912 p. 6
37 “Denver Bad Town Says Walpensky” Herald Democrat, January 2, 1913 p. 6
38 “Rose’s Regime Utter Failure” Herald Democrat, February 11, 1913 p. 6
39 1913 Leadville City Directory p. 264
40 “District Court Holds Session” Herald Democrat, October 7, 1913 p. 2
41 “New Cases of Scarlet Fever” Herald Democrat, November 4, 1913 p. 5
42 “All Over Town” Herald Democrat, November 20, 1914 p. 2
43 “School Careers Have Closed” Carbonate Chronicle, June 14, 1915 p. 3
44 “Files for Record” Herald Democrat, September 9, 1915 p. 5
45 “Personal Mention” Herald Democrat, September 14, 1915 p. 6
46 1916 Leadville City Directory p. 275
47 “Society” Herald Democrat, January 16, 1916 p. 2
48 “Public School Column” Herald Democrat, April 9, 1916 p. 3
49 “Salida News Note” Salida Record, Volume XXXIV, Number 36, October 27, 1916 p. 10
50 1917 Leadville City Directory p. 272
51 “Personal Mention” Herald Democrat, October 16, 1917 p. 3
52 “Advertised Letter List” Herald Democrat, November 19, 1917 p. 6
53 “Denver” Svensk-Amerikanska Western, January 31, 1918 p. 8
54 Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Aaron Walpensky (1865–14 Dec 1918), Find a Grave Memorial no. 41175185, citing BNai Jacob Cemetery, Pueblo County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Michael Harrington (contributor 46760007) .
55 JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
56 1918 Denver City Directory p. 1889
57 “Personal Mention” Herald Democrat, August 23, 1920 p. 3
58 Year: 1920; Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_160; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 156 Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
59 JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. “Minnie Walpin” Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
60 “Walpensky-Weger Wedding” Herald Democrat, July 27, 1920 p. 5

Bibliography

Ballenger & Richards, “Denver Directory, Containing a Complete List of the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, etc. Volume XLVI” Will H Richards Publishing Company; Denver, CO: USA 1918.

Corbett, TB, Hoye, WC and Ballanger, JH. “Corbet, Hoye and Co’s First to Twenty-Eighth Annual City Directory: Containing A Complete List Of The Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business, Business Firms Etc. In The City Of Leadville For 1880-1918”. Democrat Printing Company; Leadville, CO: USA. 1898-1918.

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Jacob H. Walpin (15 May 1902–15 May 1973), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170916428, citing Congregation Emanuel Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by SwHoot (contributor 49054756) .

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Aaron Walpensky (1865–14 Dec 1918), Find a Grave Memorial no. 41175185, citing B’Nai Jacob Cemetery, Pueblo County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Michael Harrington (contributor 46760007) .

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 August 2020), memorial page for Minnie Walpin (1875–1954), Find a Grave Memorial no. 127053890, citing Mount Nebo Memorial Park, Aurora, Arapahoe County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Walks With Angels (contributor 47205696)

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. “Minnie Walpin” Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

Price, Lee & Co. “Stedman’s Directory of the City and Town of Norwich and that of part of the Town of Preston” Press of the Bulletin Company; Norwich, Connecticut USA. 1890

The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Colorado, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 253 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Year: 1900; United State Census Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Leadville Ward 3, Lake, Colorado; Roll: T624_121; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 137413 Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

"United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-ZW9H-NW?cc=1840474&wc=M6Y6-NZS%3A165321001 : 20 May 2014), Connecticut V453 (Adolfe) - W424 (Wladisaw) > image 4424 of 5464; citing NARA microfilm publication M1299 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_160; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 156 Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.


Newspapers:

Leadville Daily Herald (Leadville, Lake County, Colorado)

American Israelite (Cinncinnatti, Cayuga County, Ohio)

Carbonate Chronicle (Leadville, Lake County, Colorado)

Svensk-Amerikanska Western (Denver, Arapaho County, Colorado)

Salida Record (Salida, Chaffee County, Colorado)

To cite any of the information in this biography, please use the following reference.

AUTHOR: Trevor Mark
EDITOR: William Korn
SOURCE: Jewish Surnames/Walpensky
PUBLISHED BY: Temple Israel Foundation. Leadville CO; USA. 2020
STABLE URL: http://www.jewishleadville.org/Walpensky.html

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