|Elcon and Jennie with Ida, Herman, and baby Sam abt 1903|
It took nearly a year for Elkunah's wife Czerna to come to the United States. She arrived in New York on May 22, 1901 aboard the S.S. Barbarossa from Bremen, Germany with daughter Chaie and son Chaim, and joined Elkunah in Philadelphia. Their next child, Samuel, was born in July 1902. The photo above was taken about 1903. It was typical of photos taken by recent immigrants and sent back to the old country to show family and friends that they were well and prospering in the new land. When I recently showed this photo to the grandson of Elkunah's brother Moishe, he remembered that a copy had still been hanging in his grandparents home in Labun when he would visit there before the war.
By the time Elkunah and his family were naturalized in 1904, they had become Elcon and Jennie Grosser, and the older children had become Ida and Herman. Three other children followed quickly; Abraham (Albert)(1904), Jacob (1907) and Esther (1909).
Elcon continued to work for Baldwin Locomotive as a Tender Shop mechanic for a few years but Jennie didn't like it. By 1905 they had opened a shop at 322 Poplar Street where they sold stoves and household things. Jennie operated the store. By 1908 they had moved to a bigger store at 814 S. 4th Street where they also lived in the apartment above the store. By 1912 they had moved to a store at 338 South Street, selling hardware and children's furniture. The store continued to operate on South Street into the 1940s although by 1930 Elcon, Jennie, Sam and Jacob (now Jack) had moved to a larger duplex home at 1014 Lindley Avenue in the leafy area of Logan . By then Elcon listed himself as a plumber doing general jobbing, while the boys ran the store.
From the time he arrived in the U.S. until immigration was restricted in the mid-1920s, Elcon and Jennie continued to provide a welcome to family members arriving from Europe. Jennie's parents, all of her siblings, Elcon's brothers, and a variety of nieces, nephews, and in-laws all listed Elcon as the person to whom they were destined on their immigration manifests. The Rosenbaum Immigrant Bank records even show that he purchased passage for several of the immigrants.
Both Elcon and Jennie were very active in the community. They both served as officers in Landsmanschaft organizations for the towns of Baranivka and Makhnovka (the town from which their daughter Ida's in-laws emigrated.) They were also active in a variety of Jewish charitable organizations. With business, family and community, their lives were very busy.
1. Manifest for S.S. Barbarossa, May 22, 1901 Record for Czerna, Ciaje and Chaim Groeskop. Record on-line Ancestry.com, New York passenger lists 1820-1957 (Provo UT, USA) roll T715_197, line 9
2. Naturalization record for Elcon Grosser. Ancestry.com Selected U.S. Naturalization Records- Original documents 1790-1974 (World Archives Project)
3. "Couple Married 74 Years Invite 300 to Celebrate" The Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday August 11, 1970. p B9.
4. Philadelphia City Directory 1905 &1906. Ancestry.com online record.
5. "Couple Married 74 Years Invite 300 to Celebrate" The Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday August 11, 1970. p B9.
6. 1920 Federal Census.Philadelphia Ward 4, page 1A ED 105. Roll T625_1616. record for Elcon Grosser record on-line. Ancestry.com (Provo UT)
7. 1930 Federal Census. Philadelphia, PA Roll 2136; page 15A; ED 1075 Record for Elcon Grosser. Record on-line Ancestry.com (Provo, UT)
8. Rosenbaum Immigrant Bank Records. Record on-line. Holding of Center for Jewish History, Paley Library, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.