Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 3: Chicago, Lincoln, Petersburg

Today we rented a car and first stop was the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery near Forest Park, west of Chicago, a sprawling complex of hundreds of Jewish burial societies, synagogues, associations, etc, each with a gate and sign and specific rules.  We checked in at the office and gave a list of names and approximate dates and in a short time we had the gate number, row number, and grave number. 

We found two family plots in the gate for the Free Sons of Israel Cemetery Association - one for the LeBoskys - with Harris LeBosky and Mary LeBosky (Earl's mother Estelle's parents), along with Benjamin LeBosky and Jacob LeBosky (two of Estelle's brothers).  In a nearby plot we found Estelle Harris and Jay C. Harris (Earl's parents) next to Goldie Friedman (one of Estelle's sisters) and her husband, Jacob J. Friedman, and son, Harold B. Friedman.  The plots were all fairly well maintained. 

Then we drove south towards Petersburg.  On the way, we stopped at Lincoln, the county seat of the next county to the north of Petersburg, the home of Clara Stern's family.  Clara was Charles Nusbaum's wife (Clara and Charles were Carl's parents - Carl was Grandma Hermien's husband).  We found a very helpful clerk in the county courthouse who found us Clara and Charles' wedding certificate, along with the death certificate for Samuel Stern, Clara's father.  At the library, we found an advertisement for "S. Stern & Son, The Clothiers & Furnishers, opp. court House Door - Lincoln, Ill" in an 1894 newspaper, and addresses for the Stern's store, on the courthouse square, and home, a few blocks from the square in an area of nicer homes but quite remuddled. 

The clerk also guided us to the cemetery where Samuel was buried, the Old Union Cemetery.  Driving through the cemetery, Mim spotted the "Stern" monument and we found a small section of the cemetery I affectionately called "the Jewish neighborhood" - all very Jewish sounding surnames (maybe 15-20 surnames in all) but no visible markings on the headstones distinguishing them as Jewish, separated by a small path from the rest of the cemetery.  There we found headstones for Jeanette Stern and Samuel Stern (Clara's parents), and one for a baby Stern.  It was a very peaceful setting, lots of trees, grassy and well-tended, bordering on a farm.

We were a bit awed by touching this personal history.  At one point, Ann read Psalm 23,
son of
S & J Stern
Nov. 14, 1870
1 yr 5 mo 18 ds
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths

for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff -
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

my whole life long.

We took lots of pictures - I'll post some tomorrow, if I can.

Love, Suzy

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