To add your personal stories, please contact Ethan Matlaw, email@example.com
The following is typed from a handwritten document provided to Jack Solomon by Bernard Matlaw based upon the possibility of a family connection between the Matlaw’s and Solomon’s:
[JMS note: Matlaw apparently was an Americanization of Matlowsky / Matlavsky / Matlavski / etc. Henry was listed in the Syracuse city directory in 1891 as Matlofsky and Matlaw in 1892 following a legal name change in the Syracuse courts. Morris was also listed as Matlofsky in his application for citizenship in 1888 and it was Matlaw in the 1900 Census in Gouverneur, NY. Of interest to the readers of this paper, Henry Matlaw was married to my great aunt, Amelia Solomon and Morris (Maurice) was married to her sister, Etta Solomon. Henry and Amelia‘s children were Isaac, Lillian, and Stella. Morris and Etta’s children were Udell and Isaac. Although Etta was born in Syracuse, NY, Amelia, her parents, and 1 brother were born in Naishtat]
June 3, 1999
This is really unbelievable!! You really did a fantastic job. I’m not 100% sure – but I think the link is Henry Matlaw and Amelia Solomon. Henry had to be an older brother or a cousin of my grandfather Leonard Matlaw. I always remembered being told that anyone with the name of Matlaw had to be a relative! My grandfather died sometime between 1935 – 1938, quite old. On the map you sent, I discovered 2 things; (1) the home of my grandfather Laibel Matlaw. Laibel is Yiddish for Leonard; and (2) in the left hand corner of the map – the mass grave according to Reye Laib Penkinski – that was the name of relatives of Matlaw. Several members of the Penkinski family emigrated to England, Ireland, and Scotland. My father had a cousin, Joseph Penn (changed and shortened his name – nothing to Wm. Penn!!). He lived with his wife Mae in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was very successful – owned a chain of cinemas. I remember them visiting us twice in the 1930’s in New Haven where I grew up. As a matter of fact, a fraternity brother was wounded on D-Day at Omaha Beach and was sent to Scotland for R&R and I sent him the address of the Penn family and they were wonderful to him. Back to the Matlaw-Solomon connection. My father often spoke of Lillian Matlaw who was the daughter of Henry and Amelia. As a matter of fact, all the Matlaw children of Leonard seemed to have kept in touch with her – they seemed to be very fond of her. She was supposedly very bright and very charming. I have an older friend who is 88 years old and who was originally from Syracuse. His wife remembers Lillian. Says she was a very good friend of her mother’s. Also says Lillian had an older brother who was bright, successful and all the women were after him [JMS note: normally a Solomon trait]. This could be the AIke@ you referred to [JMS note: Ike was a graduate of RPI and a very important engineer on the construction of the NY City subway system. He married Helen Adler and they had no children]. I also remember my father and uncles talking about a Udell. He was some sort of an engineer or architect – specializing in movie houses and marquees for theaters and lived in upstate N.Y. Somehow I keep thinking of Utica, NY associated with him. I also remember a Louis Handelman visiting us in New Haven quite often. He married a woman who was also a relative of the Matlaws. Her name was Sarah Israel. She had a sister Mildred who married an Englishman named Fisher. He had some sort of a job working on the ship AQueen Mary@. Also a brother, Dave Israel who was in the wholesale grocery business in Worcester, MA. [JMS note: At the time of the 1920 census, a Udell Israel was living with Max, Jack, Abe, Morris, and Rose in NYC and listed as a cousin].
Now I’ll give you the run down on the Leonard Matlaw offsprings. My grandmother’s name was Sarah Klein. She died shortly after she had her 11th child. Their children were Isaac, Max, Julius, Jack, Morris, Abe and twin brother who died in childbirth, Al, Ethel, Gloria and Mary. My grandfather was in the hay, grain feed business and also sold horses to the German cavalry [JMS note: in Naishtat].
ISAAC MATLAW – was the oldest brother. He moved to Berlin as a young man and became very successful. Owned a brewery and a china factory. Married a woman named Maria who was beautiful and from what I remember the family talking about her as a Ahigh liver@. In my day I guess we would have called her a Aswinger@. They had 2 boys, Myron and Ralph. Isaac divorced her and when things started to look bad for Jews in Germany, he moved to what was then Palestine. He came out with some money but lost most of it in a bad venture there and then came to the states. The 2 boys went on to become quite successful in academia. Maria followed them to Palestine and then to the States. Enclosed you will find more info on them in their obituaries and you will take note of the Atlanta connection.
MAX MATLAW – my father was born in 1889. Came to the States in about 1912. Enlisted in the Army in WWI – was in the infantry. When he came over he first went to Des Moines, Iowa – did some peddling – didn’t like it – then went to work in a department store there – lasted a short time and came back east. Married my mother in 1923. He bought a grocery store in Hoboken, NJ. I was born in NYC, Dec 15, 1923. The store was a loser. He met my mother’s brother-in-law who got him in touch with a man who wanted to sell him their small business where he made salads in his home in New Haven, CT. My father bought the business and we always managed to eat during the depression. There was always potato salad, cole slaw or sauerkraut around. I have a younger sister who will be 70 in July. She has 3 daughters. She divorced her 1st husband and remarried and is very happy. She’s a retired school teacher. Her husband is an electrical contractor. Two daughters are married with children, one single daughter. My sister also lives in West Hartford. Growing up in New Haven was pleasant. The 1st Yale football game I went to, Yale was playing the University of Georgia. I was about 13. When I finished high school I applied to the Citadel and was accepted. My father sat me down with tears in his eyes. He told me he couldn’t afford to send me – no problem I said – I went to UCONN. Had a great time for two years – enlisted in the Army – took infantry basic training in Tyler, TX. When I was ready to ship out they wouldn’t let me go with my outfit. I used to wear my own eyeglasses. Threw the GI glasses away. I had to wait for new glasses. My gang went to Europe. I was in New Caledonia at a replacement depot for a while with a bunch of Australians and New Zealanders – nice people. Finally got assigned to a medical outfit in the 24th Corp, 10th Army and ended up in the battle of Okinawa. Then on to Korea which we occupied. Then home in 1946. Met my wife at college. Got married in 1948. Went into her parents business – a ladies ready to wear store. Used to go to NY every week to buy in the garment center. Retired 7 years ago at 64 2 . Have a great marriage. I don’t play bridge and Doris doesn’t play golf. When people ask us how we’ve had a great time for 51 years – they want to know what the secret is – we have a one word answer – Dancing !! She goes dancing every Mon., Wed., and Fri. And I go out dancing every Tues., Thurs., and Sat night!! We have 2 daughters who are the loves of our life. They’re special. We not only love them, we like them as people. They both went off to college in Boston and caught the Boston-Cambridge fever and never came home. My older daughter Jane is 46 – graduated Boston Univ. – then graduated their School of Social work with a Master’s Degree Cum Laude and worked as a geriatric social worker for many years. She is now the director of Community Relations for Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital. Married Michael Kaufman. Has 2 sons, Benjamin, 15 and Nate, 13. Michael is an architect. The boys are a delight. Ben has just gotten beyond the grunting stage and is really a great conversationalist. Nate is a gem. He’s at the pomato stage – he’s not a tomato and not a potato. Jane’s father-in-law is an MIT graduate and was a Lt. Commander in the Navy. Wrote a book for the Israeli Navy they still use. Her mother-in-law was a music teacher. Strange thing – we like the in-laws. My younger daughter Martha graduated Boston Univ. She is a cellist of sorts – loves music, but decided she wanted to make a living and got her degree in Education – graduated Magna Cum Laude. Got a Master’s Degree in Education. She lives in Boston (Jane’s family in Newton, MA). Married to a great guy – they both are wonderful human beings – very altruistic. Want to save the world. Martha married Michael Weinstein, who originally was from South Orange, NJ. A great guy who was a Junior Davis Cup Tennis winner with his twin brother Dan. Michael was a taxicab driver in Boston, also a union carpenter. Graduated from Michigan, decided to get a Master’s Degree and teach which he does now in the inner city. They have 2 darling children, Hannah Selma Weinstein, 11 2 years who just got accepted to Boston Latin school; and Max Matlaw Weinstein, 9 years old and probably the best little league baseball player in greater Boston. He tells me his batting average is 750. Michael’s mother died last year and his Dad moved back to Boston. We also like the other in-laws. Michael’s Dad graduated Harvard, got a Ph.D. at NYU. When DuPont came out with Dacron – it couldn’t hold any dyes. Sid Weinstein, who was a chemist, and had his own little plant, came up with dyes which would hold and the rest is history!!
JACK MATLAW – was in the US Navy in WWI. He graduated Columbia University School of Pharmacy. Married a Rose Silver who was also from Naishtat. They had 2 children – Sylvia, who married a cousin of mine from my mother’s side of the family – Jack Jacobs. He died. She’s in an assisted living home in New Haven. They had 3 children – Deedra, married to Wm. Mack III. They have 3 sons, 2 at Cornell and 1 in high school. Marshall, a pediatric cardiac surgeon in Philadelphia, PA, married, no children. John Jacobs, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate Univ. with 2 young children. Jack and Rose Matlaw’s other child, Danny, married with 3 children, moved to Israel many years ago. A son, Ethan who is very close to my 2 daughters – he’s into the family tree – was a Lt. in the Israeli Tank corps. Another son, David, who was a paratrooper in the invasion of Lebanon and now lives in Denver and is an engineer with Raytheon. Lastly a daughter, Tamar. She helped set-up a phone system in Jordan. Works for the Israeli Phone Co. Ethan has 2 kids. David became ultra orthodox and has 4 or 5 kids. Tamar was married to a Kurdish Jew – different culture, didn’t last – divorced.
JULIUS MATLAW – lived in Kansas City, MO. Married a woman whose name was Fannie – had 2 daughters, Ruth and Doris. Can’t remember which was which, but one married a man named Greenberg – lived in Los Angeles, CA, the other remarried in Kansas City. Julius had a very fine men’s wear store – did very well. He always used to tell us how he sold Cab Calloway silk shirts during the depression for $60 a piece. In his later years, he sold the business which was at 14th and Vine streets in Kansas City and moved to Sherman Oaks, CA. He invested in some oil wells and lost a bundle. Doris and I visited him in CA many years ago.
ABE MATLAW – was dapper, very worldly. Owned a jewelry store on 23rd Street in NYC right across the street from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. Collected art, married a Syd Firestone, a very beautiful woman. They never had children. She was a sickly person, always suffering from Anerves@. Went to a psychiatrist for 50 some odd years. Abe wanted me to go into his business but NYC didn’t appeal to me. Doris and I went to see him when I bought her engagement diamond ring – 1 2 carat emerald cut. My life’s savings from the Army. My Uncle Abe had a couple of paintings by Max Baud, a well known CA artist who grew up with the Matlaw boys in Naishtat. I still remember one he had by Baud – it was of their house in Naishtat. When he died I offered his sister-in-law who lived in the next apartment to buy that painting but she had already sold them all to a gallery.
MORRIS MATLAW -was a younger brother. In today’s world, Uncle AMaish@ would be known as a free spirit – loved the beach – was a muscle man – lifted weights – used to drive to CA because he liked the Pacific water better than the Atlantic. Morris was probably the least successful of the Matlaw boys. He ran the fountain in Jack’s Drug Store at 14th Street and 10th Avenue, NYC, in the meat packing district. As a matter of fact, Jack made a living on the lunch business – did very little in prescriptions. Morris married a very beautiful woman – Rhoda. I remember the family always whispering about her. She was a dancer in a chorus line [JMS note: my Uncle Manny was a Astage door johnny@ and married a Ziegfield girl – Billy. She was a beaut and a wonderful gal with a great sense of humor and great legs]. They had 1 son, Larry who had a vision problem also a learning disability. Was always some sort of errand boy.
AL MATLAW – was the youngest son. They always tell a story how the family didn’t want him to be drafted into the Czar’s Army so they dressed him up as a girl and sneaked him out to get to America. He came to live in New Haven and work for my father. He bought a lottery ticket for a quarter and won a Model T Ford. That was about 2 months after he came to New Haven. He drove the car to Long Branch, NJ where he had a buddy. Sold the car and with the money, opened a gas station. It expanded into a tire distributorship then added a Packard Automobile dealership. He was probably the most successful of all the brothers – financially. He married, had 2 children. Al was a pretty good gambler and carouser. He had a daughter, Lenore who married a man whose name was Dechtman. He was in the real estate business, but died young leaving Lenore with 3 sons. She moved to Denver and works with a travel agency. The other child was a son, Leonard (Lenny) who went to Cornell then onto Michigan for a Master’s. He was an engineer and worked in Hartford for a while at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co. He eventually got into computers. Worked for Hewlett-Packard then went to work for an outfit in Washington. He never married and recently went to Denver. Was a sports car enthusiast. When he worked in Hartford he used to drive a snappy looking red Porsche. Lenore went to Boston U. and used to visit us quite often.
ETHEL MATLAW GREENBERG – Married a man named Albert Greenberg. He was a house painter and they lived in Kansas City. When I was going overseas to the Pacific, I had a delay in route. Didn’t have enough time for a furlough. When the train stopped in Kansas City, I went AWOL for 2 days to see my Uncle Julius Matlaw and my Aunt Ethel Greenberg. I stayed with Ethel’s family and they treated me royally. The Army never found out I was AWOL and I enjoyed my 2 days there. Ethel and Albert had 3 children – William who is a retired Orthodox Rabbi. He had the Sephardic Congregation in Seattle where he lives. To augment his income, he also worked at Boeing – I think he had an engineering degree. He married a Jewish girl from Sweden, Rosa and they had 3 or 4 children. I know one is a Rabbi in NJ and a daughter is married to a physician and they live in Mercer Island, WA. Doris and I stopped to see them about 8 years ago when we took a trip to the Canadian Rockies. Ethel had 2 daughters – Shifra, who married a young Rabbi from Putnam, CT and they moved to Israel years ago. He passed away some years ago. They had a couple of kids. Then there was an older daughter, Doris. She married a Rabbi (Conservative). He worked at the Jewish Theological Seminary in NY then got a Congregation in Long Island, then in Miami. He is now a stockbroker. We attended one of their daughter’s wedding in Worcester, MA many years ago.
CELIA MATLAW – was the youngest child of Leonard Matlaw. She was a beauty. My father and Julius went to visit the family in Naishtat in the middle 30’s and brought her back to America. She married a Morris Berman who was the head librarian at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH. Her husband died years ago. Celia just died within the past year – she was 94 or 95. She had 2 daughters, Debby the older who lives in NJ and is married to Stan Siller – ex shirt mfgrs. They have 2 children, an unusual daughter who works for an advertising agency in NYC and a son who went to Duke Law School and is an attorney in NYC – unmarried. Debby was in the first graduating class from Brandeis University. She used to spend vacations with us. The younger daughter, Tamar married a Myron Moskowitz from Cincinnati, OH. They both reside there with their children. Myron is a radiologist and spent most of his time teaching at the Univ. Of Cincinnati. He helped develop the mammogram. They have 2 daughters. One has 3 children, husband is in the real estate business. Younger daughter has 2 children. She decided to go back to school and is now in her 3rd year of medical school. We see them at least once every few years. They were just out to our daughter Jane’s younger son’s Bar Mitzvah just a few months ago.
ROSE MATLAW – came to America, lived in New Haven. Was a spinster for years. Finally got fixed up with a sweet old widower, Alex Miller, who was older. He owned a luggage store in New Haven [JMS note: One of my distant cousins was the founder of Samsonite in Denver, CO] and was from an old German-Jewish family. They had no children. After Rose died, I remember him taking the trolley car to our house every Friday night for Sabbath dinner for many years. Rose was the oldest sister.
MARY MATLAW – stayed in Naishtat. She married a man named Bernstein – had 2 sons. My father arranged with his brothers to bring Mary’s older son over in the late 30’s. His name was Irving Bernstein and he worked for Jack in the Drug Store for about 1 2 years – then moved to Kansas City. Julius Matlaw got him started in the scrap metal business. Did quite well. Got married, had a son and a daughter. Son is an attorney, daughter lives in Boston and does research lab work. Irving died about 3 years ago and his wife Ida, still lives in Kansas City. Our family never heard from Mary Matlaw, her husband and younger son after 1941. They perished in the Holacaust.
I assume the reason the Matlaw family was so friendly with Lillian Matlaw was because she was situated in NYC for so many years where most of the Matlaws lived. AIke@ evidently remained in upstate NY [JMS note: AIke@ or Isaac ended up living in NYC married to Helen Adler. They had no children. If I remember correctly, he died sometime in the 40’s or 50’s and was relatively young]. It’s interesting, my mother, Ida Shapiro, was born in Glens Falls, NY in 1897. She moved to New Haven after high school to live with her sister. Most of the family lived in upstate NY – Schuylerville, Cambridge, Hoosick Falls, Troy, Albany, Whitehall and Schenectady [JMS note: Amelia and Morris Matlaw and children, Isaac (not AIke@), Lillian and Stella lived in Canton, NY. Etta and Henry Matlaw and their children, AIke@ and Udell lived in Troy, NY.
As a point of interest both Etta and Amelia were the only 2 Solomon offspring to outlive their mother Shana who died in 1931 at the age of 99. I think that they were both widows by this time and I’ll bet you that they were very close to Lillian, Amelia’s daughter and they all lived in NYC by this time]. Her mother’s maiden name was Yankelowitz. My mother had a cousin named Joe Yankelowitz whose brother had a son who was a great pianist – changed his name to Byron Janus – was in many world tours – did lots of recordings – played as soloist with symphonies all over the world – married movie actor Gary Cooper’s daughter. They’re both still alive. He hasn’t played for about 15-20 years – arthritis in his hands.