From the records above one would easily draw the conclusion that this man had a successful life, with few cares or worries. However, while his life may very well have been that way, at one time there were other concerns about him. At one point in his life, before marriage and family he joined the Union Army in the United States Civil War. As an immigrant to America, this could not have been easy but showed a desire to serve his new country.
When he enlisted he was not yet of the majority age, so his father was required to give his permission, which he did. However he still had concerns for his son, mostly that his service in the military would not interfere with his ability to worship in the Jewish faith. To share his concerns, he contacted the one person who he thought could help, President Abraham Lincoln. Parts of that letter are below, it reads;
To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States.
. . . I gave my consent to my son, who was yet a minor, that he should enlist in the United States army; I thought it was his duty, and I gave him my advice to fulfill his duty as a good citizen, and he has done so. At the same time I taught him also to observe the Sabbath on Saturday, when it would not hinder him from fulfilling his duty in the army. Now I do not want that he shall be dragged either to the stake or the church to observe the Sunday as a Sabbath. Your Excellency will observe in this my writing that I am not very well versed in the English language, and if there should be found a word which is not right, pardon it, and never such a word shall be construed so as if I would offend your Excellency or the people; for I love my country, the Constitution, and the Union, and I try to be always a loyal citizen.
I remain, respectfully, your most obedient servant and fellow citizen,
Narrowsburg, Sullivan Co. N.Y. Dec. 4, 1862
From Jewish-American History Foundation online site:
We do not know if a reply was returned, but we do know of a man's love for his son, a family's love for their new country and their devotion to their faith. All of these are the hallmarks America was built upon and a great reminder of the examples our forebears left for us.
The records of this family are in the Knowles Collection - Jews of the Americas database.