Tag Archives: Haehn

Samuel “Siegmund” Levy

Sigismund, or Sigmund Levy was born as Samuel (his religious name) 21 Jan 1829 in Hamburg, Germany to Moses Nathan and Hannah Pickert  (of Wittelshoffen).

Sigmund married Marie Emilie Haehn, probably in Buffalo (since Marie emigrated with her mother and sister in 1854) and probably about 1860 – 1863, since Marie’s first child, born in 1859 in New York state, was named Anna Ida HAEHN, not Levy. Anna later married Philip Empey. Where did Marie and Siegmund marry? Who married them? We know that the Haehns christened the girls Evangelisch, which is Lutheran.  The Levys were Jewish.

The 1864 Buffalo City Directory lists a Sigismund Levy, clothier, 122 Main, residing at Ellicott n. Batavia. This is interesting because there is also a Moses Levy, peddlar, who resides at Batavia n. Adams. However, are either of these our Levy gentlemen? There is another Levy, Sigmund, upholsterer, who resides at Lafayette cor. Ellicott.

Second child, Louis Spencer aka Leon Seymour Levy, was born in 1864, m. Martha Hughes. Third child,Great-gramma Hannah Levy was born the following year, 1865 m. George Von Hofe. And dear Marie died on 3 November 1869 after giving birth to Otto, who was born in October or November 1869. She is buried in a beautiful family plot in historic Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The 1869 Buffalo directory leaves us still unsettled because there is a Levy n Sigmund, tobacco and cigars, whose shop was at 389 Main (and we know that later on Sigmund was a tobacconist in NYC), and whose home was 66 W. Chippewa. The other Levy, Sigmund N resides at 89 W. Huron. He is still on Huron St. in 1870. There is no sign of Moses at this point. Could the two Sigmunds be one person?

Shortly after Hannah’s death, Sigmund, who is 40 years old, moves to Manhattan’s 14th District, Ward 19,  with his three children.

At 41 years old, he married Sarah Lieber (b. Bethselshuen, Bavaria to Solomon and Betty)  on 10 April 1870 in Manhattan, New York City.  The record on Familysearch.org :

(“New York, Marriages, 1686-1980,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F67G-MJ1 : accessed 22 December 2014), Sigmund N. Levy and Sarah Lieber, 10 Apr 1870; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1,544,433)

Sigmund N. Levy
mentioned in the record of Sigmund N. Levy and Sarah Lieber
Name: Sigmund N. Levy
Spouse’s Name: Sarah Lieber
Event Date: 10 Apr 1870
Event Place: Manhattan, New York, New York
Father’s Name: Moses Nathan Levy
Mother’s Name: Hannah
Spouse’s Father’s Name: Solomon Lieber
Spouse’s Mother’s Name: Betty Lieber
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M00191-4 , System Origin: New_York-ODM , GS Film number: 1544433

They had four children: Bertha b. 1872 m.Henry Levy , Edward b. 1874 m. Elma Nathan, Isadore b. 1875 (note the witness to Siegmund’s naturalization in the year before!) m. Bessie, and Jenny b. 1876 who never married.

The Levys appear on the 1870 NYC census. Sigmund is an “agent in tinware” with $300.00 in personal assets. He says he was born in Hamburg, Germany. Sarah is 28, from Bavaria, Leon is 6, and Hannah is 5. Notably, Otto, the youngest child of Hannah and Sigmund is not on this census. According to cousin Scott, “Sarah was a cruel stepmother, and a nurse took Otto away to protect him when he was a child. His siblings lost track of him for about 50 years. Hannah searched for him and eventually located him ‘out west,’  and there was a joyous family reunion that was eventually written up in the newspaper.”  Note below that Otto does show up in an 1880 census when Siegmund is a widower. However, perhaps Siegmund, for some reason, didn’t want the census taker to know that his son was gone and lied.  Otto would have been less than one year old when he was kidnapped, meaning that he was still nursing — or had a wet nurse. Perhaps Siegmund aided and abetted the nurse taking his youngest away and that’s why he didn’t want them found. Scott found an Otto Levy on the 1920 US census living in San Francisco. He was about the correct age.  Other than that, we have no further information on what happened to Otto, when or if, he married, when he died, etc.  PLEASE NOTE: Rebecca Grady found later information that showed that, in fact, Otto was adopted by the Merpalls (sp) and they moved to CA. I have searched in the Grosvenor Room in Buffalo Public Library and can find no other info. on Otto. However, informal adoption was common at that time, so I believe that that is actually what happened.

There is another story of the domestic unhappiness at this time, corroborated by two different family sources. Leon ran away when he was about 11 years old (abt. 1875). He made it as far as Iowa, not returning to New York until he was 17. And as you can see, he does show up on the 1880 census. During the 1920s and 30s Leon lived with with Lorna Levee and her husband Harry Hicks in Kenmore NY. Lorna was Leon’s 5th child. Lorna’s children  recalled Leon telling them bedtime stories about his “adventures out west, including tales of covered wagons.”

On 21 October 1874, Siegmund N. Levy became a naturalized citizen of the United States. His occupation was listed as an “agent.” His former nationality, German. His address  was 1592 3rd Avenue N.Y.C. aka the Upper East side. Not too far away from the area great-great grandson Michael lived while getting his Ph.D at Rockefeller University. The witness to the naturalization was Isador Thiese, 1598 3rd Avenue, N.Y.C.

In March of 1880, Siegmund’s 2nd wife, Sarah, died. By 1880 Sigmund must have been having a rough time because he shows up on the US census in NYC as widowed and living with six of his children at 1592 Third Avenue. He runs a cigar store and reports that he and both of his parents were born in Hamburg. Eldest son, Leo, 17, is single and a store clerk, though he has been unemployed during the year. Hannah, at 15, is keeping the house. Otto has re-appeared and is 10. Bertha, 7, Isadore 6, and Jenny, who is not in school yet, is 4.

Siegmund lost no time. At 51 years old, he married again. This time, to recent emigrant, 24 year old, Mina Mayer, born January 1857 in Germany. Mina arrived in NYC the same year that Sarah died, 1880. She and Siegmund would produce four more children: Michael, b. 1881, Theresa b.1883 m. Josef Sonfeld, Martin D., b. 1883 m. Minna Schaffner and Harry Grover, b. 1888 married twice: Caroline Stern, then Selma Weinberg.

Sigmund died on 23 August 1898 of secondary shock following an operation on 22 August 1898 in St. Mark’s Hospital, New York City. He was 69 years old, married and a broker.  His last residence was listed as a tenement at 221 E. 114th Street.

Sigmund Levy death cert.

Name: S. N. Levy
Birth Date: abt 1829
Age: 69
Death Date: 23 Aug 1898
Death Place: New York, New York
Certificate Number: 23413

Suzanne Levy Lescht recalled a story her grandfather, Harry Grover Levy recounted that he was ten years old when his father , Siegmund, died. Times were tight for a young widow so Harry began selling newspapers on the street to help his mom.

Burial was at Washington Cemetery, 948 E. 58th Street on the 25th of August. We do not have the burial records.

Otto Ferdinand Hähn (Haehn)

Letter "h" on Haehn Monument Forest Lawn Cemetery BuffaloNY (c) 2013 barefoot photos
Letter “h” on Haehn Monument
Forest Lawn Cemetery
(c) 2013 barefoot photos

Otto was born on the 10th of May 1837 in Prussia to Christian Friedrich  Hähne.

Editor’s note: There was a Christian Friedrich Hahn b. in Hohenmölsen, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany in 1761? Lots of room for research!

Otto married Ottilie “Emelia” Fredericke Leveke, (b. 1 Mar 1812 Greifenburg, Angermunde to Philip Benjamen Loeveke) from Angermunde, Brandenberg,  in the Lutheran church, Sankt Marian, Prenzlau, Brandenburg  on 23 Jun 1833.  If indeed this is the right church, I’m sure the bells rang at the end of the ceremony. Here’s  a video!

Their first daughter, Anna Marie Ernestine Wilhemine Ottilie was christened on the 19th of May 1834 in Greiffenberg. Wilhemine died at 3 years, in 1837 Greifenburg.

Rebecca’s Great-great-great grandmother Marie Emilie Ulricke Hähn was born on 22 November 1836 in Greifenburg and christened in the Marienkirche, Prenzlau on 18 December 1836. This is in the Uckermark District, 33km from Greiffenberg. There was/is a national road 198 directly from Greiffenberg to Prenzlau. This whole region was sometimes under Polish rule as it is very close to the Polish border. It’s 66 km from the Polish city of Szczecin, though much closer (8 km) directly to the border of today’s Polish Pomerania. As so much of Europe, this region too was devastated during the Thirty Years War. According to Wiki, from the late 17th century onwards, the area was settled again by French Huguenots and an economic revival occurred. This may be the genesis of the Levekes. The area took a hit during the Seven Years War as well as the Napoleanic Wars. The later would coincide perhaps with Otto’s emigration…

By Michael Sander - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=7511882
By Michael Sander – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=7511882

On 8 July 1842, daughter, Alma Emily Lucie was christened in Greiffenberg. She married Marsden Davey in 1859.

Otto emigrated, alone, on 17 Nov 1853, departing from Bremerhaven, Germany. He traveled steerage class on the ship, Delaware  arriving in Castle Garden NY. According to castlegarden.org, Otto paid his passage by himself. Emily traveled one year later, with Marie and Alma on the Sir Isaac Newton, arriving in New York on 16 August 1854. And in 1854, according to Marnee Meyer’s research in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser , Otto can be found living at 52 Sycamore. He’s 17 years old and already a cigar maker.

The 1854 Buffalo City Directory,  we find Otto living behind 8 Court Street….his shop was open for business at 52 Sycamore. In 2016, it’s across the street  or in the same location as the Buffalo Bisons Coca-Cola field.

In 1855 and 1856 the shop was located at 167 E.Seneca Street. For some reason, Otto is not listed in the 1857 city directory.

In 1858, Marnee  Meyer found him listed as a “tobacconist” and he has moved the shop to 23 E.Seneca, his home is at 165 E. Seneca. There is also listed a Fred Haehn, tailor, living at 189 Oak. (Note, this Fred is also listed in the 1855 Buffalo Census. Methinks this is Otto’s brother and would give us a clue as to his parents’ as well as his reason for coming to Buffalo. As yet, though, we have no confirmation of this family link, There are several Haehns listed in the Buffalo Directory in 1857, but no Otto??)

Buffalo NY - portion of 1893 GM Hopkins map
Map courtesy of Scott Hicks, via Buffalo NY – portion of 1893 GM Hopkins map

Dr. Mike Grady also checked the city Directories in the Grosvenor Room of the Buffalo Public Library and found something interesting in the 1859 records. Otto is listed as a “tobacco, snuff, and cigar dealer” at 40 E.Seneca.  Living at same address, there’s a Mary Haehn, a widow, washerwoman. Could this be an elder relative? Or a mistake? In the same directory, O. Haehn is listed as a cigar maker at 23 E. Seneca. Perhaps Otto was making the cigars in one location and selling them at another. . . .

The family appears in 1860 with the name transcribed as HCHN.  Otto, Amelia, Mary and Anna lived at 40 E. Seneca in Buffalo’s, Wd 2, Erie, NY.  Otto was a cigar maker. Otto is missing again in the 1861 directory (though Mary Haehn is still there as a widow and washerwoman with a home on Monroe near Batavia. The 1861 Buffalo City Directory lists Otto ( among 5 other Tobacconists), at 40 E. Seneca.

The 1862 and ’63 Buffalo Directories list Otto among 25 other Buffalo Tobacconists (Cigar Dealers). His shop was on Main Street at the corner of N. Division.

Bridge at Forest Lawn Cemetery Buffalo NY (c) 2013 barefoot photos
Bridge at Forest Lawn Cemetery
Buffalo NY
(c) 2013 barefoot photos

The 1864-’67 Buffalo Directories show Otto has begun manufacturing cigars at 273 Main. His residence is 25 Niagara Street. Note, this is the home of his son-in-law, Marsden Davey. There is also listed a William Haehn. laborer, living on Locust Street in Buffalo. The May-Dec 1865 Tax assessment lists Otto at 273 Main. He sells cigars. The valuation was 2000 and his tax  was $40.00, though it is hard to read and it seems he paid $20.00 already.

The NY State census for 1865 shows Otto (58, a merchant) and wife, Marie Emily (50) living in his son-in-law’s, the engraver, Marsden Davey’s (31) home.  It was a wooden structure shared with Marsden’s wife and Otto’s third daughter,  Alma Emily (23), whom Marsden had married in 1859, and their 2 year old son, Walter. Alma Emily reports that she’d given birth to 3 children by this time. Evidently, 2 have died. Also living at the same address is Sigmund Levy (40 a merchant), Otto’s son-in-law, now married to the second daughter, Marie (28) and their one year old son, Leo. There is no record for Marie Emily’s first daughter, born out of wedlock in 1859, Anna Ida Hähn. Thinking that she was adopted, perhaps informally by this time.

The 1864, ‘5, ‘6, ‘7, ‘8 and ‘9 Directories list Otto, tobacconist has a cigar shop at 273 Main. He moves his home in 1868 to 72 Niagara. Otto’s daughter, Marie Emily Ulricke (Levy) died in giving birth to her 4th child, Otto, on 3 Jul 1869 in Buffalo. Marie Hähn Levy  died in November 1869.

In 1870, 1871, Mike found Otto as “tobacconist” with his shop at 349 Main and  living at 72 Niagara (on Niagara Square.)

Cousin Scott found another article on Otto’s troubles with his building, On 4 Oct. 1872, the Buffalo Courier & Republic,  reported

FIRE– At twenty-five minutes after one o’clock this morning, an alarm of fire was sounded from Box No.2, and was rendered necessary, by a heavy volume of smoke which issued from the cellar that extends beneath the stores No. 349 and 350 Main Street, between North Division and Eagle Streets. Smoke soon gave way  to fierce flames, which threatened destruction,but the department succeeded in subduing the flames before the fire had eaten their way through the first floor. Mr Otto J.(sic) Haehn occupied the first store for sale of tobacco and cigars, the second being used by Mr. C.M. Driscoll as a saloon. No damage was done to these places, beyond that inflicted by the smoke and a slight wetting.

The fire originated among a lot of boxes and tobacco cuttings, and is thought to have been the work of an incendiary.

The building is owned by Mr.Haehn, and both himself and Mr. Driscoll are fully insured.

In 1872, the city directory lists several Haehns. Otto is still living at 72 Niagara. Otto is listed a second time in 1872 under Cigar Manufacturers, of which there are now 103 in Buffalo. His shop remained at 349 Main Street. Ditto for 1873.  In 1874 the shop is listed as at 849 Main, though methinks this is probably a typo in the directory because in 1875, the shop is again listed as 349 Main. He still lives at 72 Niagara Street.

Otto is 60 years old at the time of the New York State Census, 1875. It lists his birth as 1815 for some reason. They lived in the 9th Ward of Buffalo, E.D. 01. Marie is 58, and daughter Annie is living at home; she’s 18. The 1875 Buffalo City Directory lists Otto at 349 Main Street.

There seems to be a gap in the listing for Otto’s business for a few years. In 1876, 77, 78, 79 Otto’s home address remained on Niagara Street. Google Maps shows that there may be a restaurant there now. Perhaps we’ll check it out one day. At any rate, according to an article in the Buffalo Daily Courier on 8 Mar 1877, Otto’s place in wing city was burglarized. Frank Cook and two or three others, were the culprits and were  already serving time in Auburn State Prison for stealing cigars, and smokers’ articles. (Scott Hicks)

On 7 March 1879, The Progressive Batavian newspaper noted that Otto F. Haehn’s “elegant” home on Grand Island burned down.  The loss was $8,000. We believe this  to have been the family’s “country” property. (Scott Hicks ). Here is a report from Fulton History.com, 22Feb 1879:


The elegant residence of Mr. OttoF.Haehn , situated on Grand Island, together with the contents was destroyed by fire on Thursday night about eleven o’clock. Mrs.Haehn and her daughter were the only occupants at the time,  Mr. Haehn being in the city, and they barely escaped from the building.  There was no one near to aid them, and the two ladies were obliged to take shelter in the barn where they suffered not a little from the severe weather. There is an insurance on the property destroyed for $7,800 but it is thought that it will not cover the loss. The cause of the fire is not known,but it is thought to have been caused by a defective chimney.”

Though we driven across Grand Island many times enroute to Toronto, the only time we ever did anything was when when one of the kids  had a class trip to Fantasy Island Amusement Park!

Scott Hicks also researched Otto’s work as a developer in Buffalo. On 28 Feb. 1879, the Courier wrote a piece detailing the builder, Mr.Beebe’s current projects: “On Main St., Mr.Beebe will put a new stone and brick front on Nos. 210 and 213 for Mr. Haehn, who now owns  the property, having recently bought No.210 from Mr. Glenny. another story will also be added, making the building five stories high and a very handsome one. It will be occupied by Walker’s boot and shoe establishment. He is also drawing plans for Mr. Haehn of a handsome new fire-proof building to stand on the corner of Main and Seneca Streets, now occupied by Mssrs Powell and Plimpton. The will have an iron front on both streets, the first floor arranged for banks, the floors above for offices.” Otto paid $60,00 for the building. Sure enough, in November 1879, the Courier reported that “The Manufacturer’s and Trader’s Bank will take possession of Mr. Otto Hahn’s new iron building  on the corner of Main and West Seneca on 1st April 1880, having leased the same for a number of years. The book and money vaults are built on the  most improved plans and will successfully defy the burglar, the fire flood. The interior will be fitted up tastefully and the President’s office will front on Main Street.”

The 1880 Buffalo directory again lists Otto F. Haehn, Tobacco and Cigars at 816 Main. And the 1880 US census shows Otto, Emilie, and granddaughter Ida A., living at 72 Niagara St., Buffalo dist 159, Erie, NY. Otto is a tobacconist.

R.(and M.) with 4th great grandparents Forest Lawn Cemetery 2010 Buffalo NY (c) 2013 barefoot photos
R.(and M.) with 4th great grandparents
Forest Lawn Cemetery 2010
Buffalo NY
(c) 2013 barefoot photos

At 74 years of age, Otto died on 19 Feb. 1882. According to the death certificates, Otto died of “old age”.  In his Letter of Testamentary, filed in Buffalo, of 14 Mar. 1882, Otto named Emilie his sole executor. According to an email from Dieter Meyer, in his will, Otto left everything to Amelia with no mention of any other family members.

He is buried in the beautiful, historic Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. The Daveys and Haehns are buried in a joint plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo. There is a fairly large monument in the middle with the last names  “Haehn” and “Davey” on it, nothing else. On the left side are buried Otto, Amelia, Marie (Mary), Anna, and Harry Faulkner. On the right side are Marsden, Alma, and their 4 children.

Haehn Davey Monument Forest Lawn Cememtery Buffalo NY (c) 2013 barefoot photos
Haehn Davey Monument
Forest Lawn Cememtery
Buffalo NY
(c) 2013 barefoot photos

Here is an copy of Otto’s obituary that appeared in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser 20 Feb 1882 page 3 column 1:

Otto F. Haehn Born May 10, 1807 Died Feb 19, 1882 Forest Lawn Cemetery,Buffalo NY(c) 2013 barefoot photos
Otto F. Haehn  Born May 10, 1807  Died Feb 19, 1882    Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo NY
(c) 2013 barefoot photos

Death of O.F. Haehn–This widely-known and respected gentleman died yesterday morning after a brief illness, at the age of 75 years. He had been in the tobacco business in Buffalo for thirty years past, and was an exemplary business man and a good citizen. He leaves a widow, and one daughter, Mrs. Marsden Davey. The funeral will take place from the family residence No. 74 Niagara Street, tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock.

There was a death notice from the same paper, same date:
Haehn–In this city on the 19th inst., Otto F. Haehn, aged 74 years. Funeral from the family residence No. 74 Niagara Street on Tuesday the 21st inst., at 2 o’clock p.m.
(the two put different ages at death…)

Cousin Scott found the death in the Buffalo News on 20 Feb 1882 :

O.F.Heahn, a well-known Buffalonian, engaged in the tobacco trade, in this city for the past 30 years, died yesterday morning, aged 75, leaving a wife and a  daughter– Mrs. Marsden Davey.

Scott found the following in the Buffalo Evening News on 22 April 1882:


The entire stock and fixtures belonging to  the late  O.F. Haehn, consisting of choice cigars of his ow manufacture, in lots to suit purchasers, show-case, metal Indian figure, leaf tobacco, counter, refrigerator, gas fixtures, etc, will be sold at public auction at the store, 816 Main Street,  on Tuesday next, April 23rd, at 10 o’clock A.M.


Otto’s wife, Amelie  Leveke Hähn died of paralysis on 3 July 1894. Dieter Meyer said that she sold Otto’s shop and contents to pay off quite a few creditors.

Amelia Haehn - death notice - Buffalo Courier - 5-July-1894
Amelia Haehn – death notice – Buffalo Courier – 5-July-1894 courtesy Scott Hicks
Emelie Haehn - Probate notice - 24-Oct-1894 - Buffalo Courier, courtesy of Scott Hicks
Emelie Haehn – Probate notice – 24-Oct-1894 – Buffalo Courier, courtesy of Scott Hicks


from Marnee Meyer:  In 1893, Marsden Davey  kept the office at  68 Niagara, but moved their residence to 297 Bryant St. Marsden Davey died at his home in 1911, and Alma died there as well in 1922. She had a little bit of money, and left it to many different people, but almost $2,000 each to Marie’s 3 children: Anna Empey, Hannah Von Hofe (aka Hannah Van Horn), Louis Levee.  Louis Levee later assigned his share in Alma’s estate to Lorna Hicks (residing at same address as Louis). At that time, Anna was living in Ontario, Hannah in East Orange, N.J., and Louis in Buffalo.