Daniel & Max Rothschild
Dan Rothschild began by peddling jewellery in Northern Ontario beginning in 1877. He and his brother Max eventually opened up general stores in the neighbouring towns of Wahnapitae, Cartier, Chapleau and Jackfish. Dan decided to settle in Sudbury because it was the furthest north one could go on the rail line at that time. He opened up D. Rothschild & Co. in 1883. The store was strategically situated across from the train station on the corner of Elgin and Cedar Streets. He married Annie Harris from New York City and they had five children together: Joseph, Ida, Sadie, Ella and Sam.
His brother Max opened a butcher shop next door, but he also worked for his brother's business. An 1894 advertisement states that Rothschild & Co. had the largest assortment of "gent's furnishings, clothing, boots, and shoes in town." The business also sold trunks, valises, watches, jewellery, hats, lamps and other items that would generally be associated with hardware stores. At the turn of the century, however, Dan and Max received a liquor license and changed the focus of the business, taking mail order requests for alcohol. The Rothschild liquor store closed after Ontario went dry with the introduction of the Temperance Act in 1916. Dan and his wife Annie moved to Montreal and for a year were able to take liquor orders for Ontarians from Quebec until the practice was forbidden. The family moved back to Sudbury in 1921 and legally re-opened the liquor store in Sudbury in 1927, with the end of prohibition in Ontario. Although Dan passed away in 1929, his widow and children remained in Sudbury. Max and his wife Rae had ten children: Ike, Meyer, Mildred, Debbie, Solomon, Ethel, Ruth, Julius, Nathan and Helene.
A. Silverman and Sons, run by Aaron, was established in 1892 in a small shack on Elm Street. In the beginning, the store mainly sold men's furnishings, particularly work clothes for lumberjacks and other manual labourers. By 1911 the store had expanded into a three-storey building to accommodate women's and children's fashions. In the 1920s, A. Silverman and Sons advertised suits for $25 in the Sudbury Star newspaper. The store continued to flourish under his sons' management. His brother Myer opened a men's wear shop in 1889. He operated this store until 1894, when he moved to Copper Cliff. Upon returning to Sudbury, he ran his business from a wood frame building at 24 Elm Street across from the C.P.R. building.
Aaron married Rose Greenblatt on 10 September 1895 in New York City and they had six children: Solomon, Molly, Manuel, Jack, Sylvia and Elaine. Solomon was born in the United States and the rest of the children were born and raised in Sudbury. They lived in a big house at 8 Beech Street. Unfortunately, both Manuel and Sylvia died in their teens. Solomon served in the Canadian military during the First World War. He ended up getting a B.A. from the University of Toronto and an M.A. from Cornell University in business administration and law. He married Isabel Sommer from Montreal and went into business with his father. Saul helped establish the Sudbury General Hospital during the 1950s and was the first Chairman of the Board. Finally, he helped establish Laurentian University and served on the Board of Governors. He also helped support a variety of other institutions within Sudbury. Aaron passed away on July 22nd, 1941 at the age of 79, and left his business to his sons.
His brother Myer married Sarah Benjamin in June 1892 in New York City. Together they had five children: Minnie, Rose, Max, Lena and Belle. The first three children were born in the U.S. and the younger two were born in Sudbury. They lived at 177 Louis Street. Meyer and his family spent summer at Ramsay Lake with Aaron's family and they had a boat called "Happy Days."
Abraham Weisman peddled along the northern train route beginning in the mid-1880s. During that time, he relied on railway employees - usually a baggage man or a conductor - to send his merchandise up the line. He would load tightly packed trunks of men's clothing on a train in Montreal or Toronto and his assistants would drop the trunks at designated stops along the rail line. Abraham traveled from one town to the next selling his wares, picking-up merchandise along the way. In 1898, he opened a shop in Sudbury on Elgin Street. According to his son Ellis, Abraham was a " restless soul" always " searching for a rainbow." Abraham sought-out business opportunities that continually took him into the wilderness. For example, he traded furs in Kenora, north of Thunder Bay, and prospected for gold in Porcupine near Timmins. When he opened a menswear store in Sudbury around the turn of the century, he continued to take measurements for men working in bush camps, sometimes by dogsled.
Abraham married Ida Luxenberg and they had four children: Charles, Elise, Jess (name uncertain) and Hector. Abraham was an active member of the synagogue executive during the early years. The government named a lake after him in that area called Weisman Lake.
First Jewish Settlers
The first Jewish settler to arrive in the Greater Sudbury area was Daniel Rothschild. He arrived by rail around 1883 and sold merchandise from a pack-sack to local labourers. His brother Max, who was a butcher, arrived a year later. It was not unusual for one brother to arrive first and then send for his male siblings after his arrival. There were a number of early Jewish male pioneers who came from Russia, Poland and Germany to the Nippising Township area to follow the railroad and seek their fortune. Most began working as peddlers and later opened up general stores or clothing businesses in the towns that cropped up outside of Sudbury as well as Sudbury proper.
One of the early pioneers, Aaron Silverman, exemplified the immigrant experience in Sudbury. He came from Warsaw and arrived in 1889 at the age of 18, selling clothing from his pack-sack to the lumbermen and miners at construction camps along the railroad line. Due to the large number of labourers in need of work clothing - there were about 11,000 in that area by that time -- he ended up making a great deal of money and was able to rent a small shack on Elm Street by 1892.
Many of the other early pioneers also got their start this way including: David and Lewis Jacobs, who owned a dry goods store; Harry Endelman, a raw fur buyer; and Abraham Weisman, who worked as a peddler for a decade and then opened up a general store in Sudbury in 1898. Hyman Ironstone was among the earliest settlers in nearby Cache Bay, peddling in the Sudbury region in the 1880s. He moved to Sudbury with his family around 1906. Family members often worked together. It was also common for Jewish newcomers in Sudbury to apprentice in Jewish-owned businesses before opening up their own establishments. This first wave of permanent settlers became merchants and developed thriving businesses.