A message from MCHC website:
7802 Ginkgo Cove, Austin, TX 78750-7817
I spoke with Joy Graham and she suggested I contact you to see if you had any information on the Philipsons
that once resided in Rockdale. Can you assist in some way. My wife and I will come for a visit as soon as we
can free up some time. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
Reply: Gregg, I don't have any info but what I will do is post your request on the MCHC website and I will send
an email to each member of the MCHC and one lady with the Milam County Genealogical Society.
Do you have any additional info? Such as first names, wife's maiden names, Date of birth and/or death, years
they lived in Rockdale (even if approximate) whatever info you have would be great. The more info the better
the results you might get.
I might also suggest that you post your request on these sites:
They both are monitored by the Genealogical Society.
If you can let me know this info also, I'll get it posted online. Good luck with your search.
Jerry Caywood - MCHC website Administrator
Hi Jerry, Thank you very much!! I appreciate your quick response and willingness to assist.
Please see the info below and attached. Kind regards, Gregg
The Jewish Cemetery is at the back/southeast corner behind the Old City Cemetery at Mulberry Street surrounded
by a wrought iron fence, with headstones carved in Hebrew. This portion of the cemetery was established by the
Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1878 and contains such names as Block, Cohen, Cohn, Collins, Crown, Emsheimer,
Goldsticker, Kestenbaum, Loewenstein, Malsch, Philipson, Rosenfield, and Steinburg.
For more information, see Rockdale Jewish Cemetery History and Listing
Goldsticker George 20 Sep 1882 22 Aug 1883 son of Henry & Gabrella (Philipson) Goldsticker
Goldsticker Henry 04 Jul 1843 09 Aug 1888 Confederate Veteran - Private - Lavaca Guards, Light Infantry
Company, 24th Brigade,Texas State Troops
Philipson Hattie 07 May 1881 04 Jun 1881 niece of Henry Goldsticker - daughter of Ludwig & Sarah (Levy)
Philipson Rosenfield Rosa 26 Jun 1877 26 May 18 - 6 daughter of Joseph S. & Therese Rosenfield
REPLY: Info Request emailed to MCHC Members & Linda Whorton - MCGS
REPLY: Info sent to Greg Phillipson from Linda Whorton -
This information is from the Milam County Genealogical Society's website:
Linda Whorton - lindamorningdawn(AT)aol(DOT)com
(newsletter editor for the Milam County Genealogical Society)
Milam Co., TX - Cemeteries - Jewish Cemetery
This file was contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by: Lynna Kay Shuffield <lksfriday(AT)sbcglobal
Copyright. All rights reserved.
Longitude / Latitude Location: 30° 39.102 N x 096° 59.921 W
LOCATION: From US 77 in Rockdale take S. Main (FM908) south, crossing the Mopac Railroad / Union Pacific
Railroad tracks, at this point, S. Main becomes Oak St., about 100-yards south of the Old City Cemetery is
White St., turn left. The cemetery entrance is in the southwest corner of the block.
Surname -- Given Name -- Date of Birth -- Date of Death -- Note
Block Henrietta 29 Jun 1866 - 07 Oct 1892 daughter of Theresa & Hyman
Block Hyman 22 Dec 1825 - 18 Jan 1899 husband of Theresa Block
Block Theresa (Therelia) 21 Jan 1835 - 29 Jul 1898 wife of Hyman Block
Cohen Samuel 13 Apr 1835 - 24 Aug 1882 Need to locate relatives
Cohn Morris S. 16 Apr 1856 - 30 Apr 1939 Need to locate relatives
Collins Annie 12 Apr 1889 - 18 Sep 1900 Need to locate relatives
Crown Isaac 01 Jan 1858 - 04 Jun 1888 Killed in Mundine Hotel Fire
Emsheimer Isaac ca. 1848 - 29 Apr 1884 Suicide – No known family
Goldsticker George 20 Sep 1882 - 22 Aug 1883
son of Henry & Gabrella (Philipson) Goldsticker
Goldsticker Henry 04 Jul 1843 - 09 Aug 1888
Confederate Veteran - Private - Lavaca Guards, Light Infantry
Company, 24th Brigade,Texas State Troops
Kestenbaum Jacob 09 Mar 1874 - 30 Apr 1932 Need to locate family
Loewenstein Arthur 30 Sep 1876 - 08 Aug 1877
Oldest known burial in cemetery son of Benjamin & Carrie Loewenstein
Loewenstein Benjamin 02 Mar 1845 - 11 May 1923 husband of Carrie Malsch Loewenstein
Loewenstein Carrie 29 Sep 1851 - 08 Jun 1932 Maiden Name: Malsch
Loewenstein Joseph E. 26 May 1875 - 21 Jul 1908 son of Benjamin & Carrie Loewenstein
Lowenstein H. V., Dr. Unknown - bt. 31 Aug, 1904
No gravemarker – Newspaper articles about burial in Jewish Cemetery –
husband of Sarah Cohen Lowenstein - no death certificate
Malsch Salomine 04 Nov 1826 - 16 Nov 1907
wife of Matthew Malsch and mother of Carrie Malsch Loewenstein
Philipson Hattie 07 May 1881 - 04 Jun 1881
niece of Henry Goldsticker – daughter of Ludwig & Sarah (Levy) Philipson
Rosenfield Rosa 26 Jun 1877 - 26 May 1886 daughter of Joseph S. & Therese Rosenfield
Steinberg Abe 08 Apr 1843 - 25 Feb 1928
husband of Annie Huderlik Steinberg - NOTE: Gravemarker shows year of death
as 1929, this is an error. Death certificate and obituary both indicate date of
Rockdale, Milam County, Texas
Prepared by Lynna Kay Shuffield, November 2002
SNYPOSIS: The Jewish Cemetery in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas is an integral part of the history of Texas as
well as serving as an example of the pioneer spirit of the early Jewish immigrants and their commitment to
On 11 November 1878, the Hebrew Benevolent Association (the "Association") purchased 22-acres of land in
Rockdale, Milam County, Texas, from the Texas Land Company to establish a Jewish Cemetery.(1) Today, almost
125-years later, the Association is no longer in existence, but the deed remains in the name of the
The earliest documented burial is Arthur Loewenstein, age 10-months and 8-days, the second son of Benjamin and
Carrie Malsch Loewenstein. Arthur was born on 30 September 1876 in Rockdale and died on 8 August 1877, 15-
months prior to the purchase of the land by the Association.
Arthur's father was a prominent merchant and businessman in the community. Benjamin and his brother, Joseph
opened for business in a tent on Wednesday, 24 December 1873, before the International & Great Northern
Railroad reached Rockdale in January 1874. When the railroad came to Rockdale, it was the end of the line and
community could only be characterized as a new unsettled western tent town.(2)
On 8 May 1874, an election was held in which a majority of voters favored the incorporation of Rockdale and in
early June or July the justice declared, "the inhabitants of the town of Rockdale are incorporated." One square
mile whose center would be the intersection of Bell and Main would be known as Rockdale.(3)
"While in the Austin area, [in 1879, Charles] Wessolowsky visited the Jews in nearby communities. In Rockdale,
there were 100 Jews and a B'nai B'rith lodge whose members planned to inaugurate a Sunday school. However,
there was disagreement over rituals. Wessolowsky reported Asome of them still cling and hold fast to the
doctrines and dead forms of the so-called chasid (pietist), while others require and ask for 'progress' . .
During the 1880s, there was a Jewish Community in Rockdale. In 1884, the Rockdale Jewish School Community was
established and served until the expansion of public schools.(5)
In March 1884 Rockdale celebrated the Bar Mitzvah Henry Kaiser, son of Mr. & Mrs. Kaiser. According to an
article about the event published in the Galveston Daily News, "the best people of the city [Rockdale] were
assembled. The feast was, in point of abundance and excellence, one of the finest ever spread at a private
residence in Rockdale. Master Henry, in an admirable address, acquitted himself nobly, and received the hearty
plaudits(6) of all. . . . Champagne flowed in abundance and it was a late hour when the last of the guests
departed. Mr. Kaiser is one of our leading merchants and the ovation tendered by the large assemblage on this
occasion was a fitting tribute to an enterprising citizen."(7)
The only known suicide in the cemetery is Isaac Ensheimer, age 35, who died on 29 April 1884. He was employed
by Abe Steinberg, who is also buried in the cemetery. Isaac died by taking chloroform and morphine and in the
note he left said, "Disappointment in man has brought me to the long sleep. Please bury me decently."(8)(9) The
primary reason Isaac makes the plea in his note is that according to Rabbi Shraga Simmons, "Judaism regards
suicide as a criminal act. Someone who commits suicide is considered a murderer. It matters not whether he
kills someone else or himself. His soul is not his to extinguish."(10) Therefore, Isaac's burial was in keeping
with someone who committed suicide, as he is buried in a separate part of the cemetery along the fence-line.
Henry Goldsticker died on 09 August 1888 of Bright’s Disease.(11)(12) He was a Confederate Veteran having
served in the Lavaca Guards (of Lavaca County, Texas), 24th Brigade, Texas State Troops. During the Civil War,
the Texas Legislature enacted laws and provided funds to organize the Texas State Troops, which were structured
into companies of men to provide a frontier defense. Although organized like military units, these men were not
part of the Confederate States Army.
Henry Goldsticker’s son George and niece, Hattie Philipson are also buried in the cemetery. Hattie is the
daughter of Ludwig and Sarah (Levy) Philipson. Henry’s wife was Gabriella Philipson Goldsticker, sister of
One of the more tragic burials in the cemetery is Isaac Crown who died in the Mundine Hotel Fire in which 12
people were killed. In 1880 John Mundine of Lexington built a 3-story brick structure on the corner of Main and
Railroad streets, the present site of McVoy's Grocery Store in Rockdale. The hotel opened in 1881 under the
management of Dr. & Mrs. W. A. Brooks and soon became the social center of the town. But on June 8, 1888, the
Mundine Hotel was destroyed in the most disastrous fire in the history of Milam County. (14) (15) (16) (17)
The Loewenstein family constitutes a large number of the burials in the cemetery. Benjamin Loewenstein, (20)
the patriarch of the family died in 1934 when he was hit by an automobile while crossing the street in
Rockdale.(21) His other family members buried in the cemetery include his wife, Carrie Malsch Loewenstein who
died as a result of a fall in her home. (22) (23)
Other family members include Joseph E. Loewnstein, Jr., who was named for Ben’s brother, Joseph Loewenstein and
Carrie’s mother, Salomine Malsch is also buried within the family plot. (24)
The Jewish Cemetery continued to serve the community until the last burial of Morris Cohn on 30 April 1939 and
there are 19 marked graves and two unmarked graves.
(1) Milam County Deed Records, Vol. E2, p. 22-23.
(2) Marshall, Ida Jo (ed.), A History of Rockdale, Texas 1874-1974, p. 122
(3) Ibid., p. 2.
(4) Winegarten, Ruthe and Cathy Schechter, Deep in the Heart of Texas: The Lives and Legends of Texas Jews.
Eakin Press, Austin, Texas, 1990, p. 63.
(5) Milam County Deed Records, Vol. 13, p. 302-303
(6) Plaudit - A round of applause or enthusiastic expression of approval or praise.
(7) Galveston Daily News, Tues., 4 March 1884, p. 1, c. 6
(8) Dallas Weekly Herald, Thur., 1 May 1884, p. 1, c. 7
(9) San Antonio Daily Express, Wed., 30 Apr 1884, p. 1, c. 2
(10) Simmons, Shraga, Ask the Rabbi. 20 Nov 2002 .
(11) Galveston Daily News, 18 Aug 1888, p. 3, c. 1
(12) Bright’s Diease - Acute or chronic inflammation of the kidneys.
(13) Texas State Troops Service Records, 1861-1865, Texas Adjutant General's Department.
Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.
(14) Marshall, p. 10-11.
(15) “Eleven Persons Perish,” Galveston Daily News, Tues., 5 June 1888, p. 1, c. 3.
(16) “Desolation and Death,” Galveston Daily News, Wed., 6 June 1888, p. 5, c. 1.
(17) “Gloom at Taylor,” Galveston Daily News, Wed., 6 June 1888, p. 5, c. 1 & 2.
(18) “A Hotel Horror,” Philadelphia Public Ledger, Tues., 5 June 1888, p. 1.
(19) “Eleven Persons Perish,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Tues., June 5, 1888, p. 8.
(20) Cooper, George, M., “The Family of Benjamin Loewenstein.” (Master’s thesis, Sam Houston
State Universtiy, Dec. 1994).
(21) “Funeral of Ben Loewenstein,” Rockdale Reporter, 27 Dec 1934, p. 1, c. 5 & p. 3, c. 1.
(22) “Mrs. Loewenstein Dies,” Rockdale Reporter, 8 Jun 1932, p. 1, c. 7.
(23) “Mortuary – Mrs. B. Loewenstein,” Rockdale Reporter, 16 Jun 1932, p. 2, c. 1.
(24) “At a Ripe Old Age,” Rockdale Reporter, 21 Nov 1907, p. 7, C. 1 & 2.
“A Hotel Horror - A Texas Hotel Burned and Eleven Persons Perish in the Flames – A Philadelphian
Among the Victims,” Philadelphia Public Ledger, Tues., 5 June 1888, p. 1.
“At a Ripe Old Age – Mrs. Salomine Malsch Gently Falls Asleep at the Age of 81,” Rockdale
Reporter, 21 Nov 1907, p. 7, c. 1 & 2.
Batte, Lelia M., History of Milam County, Texas. San Antonio, TX: Naylor Co., 1956.
Cooper, George M. “The Family of Benjamin Loewenstein: Jewish Immigrants to Southern Milam
County.” Masters of Arts thesis, Sam Houston State University, Dec. 1994.
Dallas Weekly Herald, Thur., 1 May 1884, p. 1, c. 7
“Desolation and Death - Rockdale Enshrouded with a Mantel of Gloom - The Earnings of Years Wiped Out and an
Appalling Loss of Life - Description of the
Hotel - Disposition of Charred Bodies,” Galveston Daily News, Wed., 6 June 1888, p. 5, c. 1.
“Eleven Persons Perish - But Two Occupants of a Rockdale Hotel Saved - A Town Stricken with Grief Over the
Result of a Disastrous and Most Fearful Fire -
The People Burned – Details,” Galveston Daily News, Tues., 5 June 1888, p. 1, c. 3.
“Eleven Persons Perish - Burning of a Hotel at Rockdale, Texas, Yesterday Morning - Only Two of the Inmates
Saved - Vain Efforts to Save the Others - Mystery
Surrounding the Affair - Pemberton Pierce, of Philadelphia, a Victim,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Tues., June 5,
1888, p. 8.
“Funeral of Ben Loewenstein is Held Today - Death on Christmas follows accident, Night of December 1st,”
Rockdale Reporter, 27 Dec 1934, p. 1, c. 5 & p. 3, c. 1.
Galveston Daily News, Tues., 4 March 1884, p. 1, c. 6.
Galveston Daily News, 18 Aug 1888, p. 3, c. 1.
“Gloom at Taylor,” Galveston Daily News, Wed., 6 June 1888, p. 5, c. 1 & 2.
Holder, Perry C., 150 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County (Texas). Houston, Texas:
Armstrong Co., Inc., 1991.
Holman, Norinne Holder, 170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas. Austin, Texas: Armstrong
Printing, Inc., 2001.
Marshall, Ida Jo (ed.), A History of Rockdale, Texas 1874-1974. Rockdale, Texas: The Rockdale Reporter, 1974.
Milam County Deed Records, Volumes E2 and 207, Milam County, Texas.
“Mortuary – Mrs. B. Loewenstein,” Rockdale Reporter, 16 Jun 1932, p. 2, c. 1.
“Mrs. Loewenstein Dies in Hospital at Waco Wednesday,” Rockdale Reporter, 8 Jun 1932, p. 1, c. 7.
Simmons, Shraga, Ask the Rabbi. 20 Nov 2002 .
Shuffield, Lynna Kay, Milam County, Texas: Jewish Cemetery of Rockdale. Houston, Texas: L. K. Shuffield, 2002.
Teter, Gertrude M. and Donald L., Texas Jewish Burials Alphabetically by Name. Austin, Texas: Texas Jewish
Historical Soc., 1997.
Texas State Troops Service Records, 1861-1865, Texas Adjutant General's Department. Archives and Information
Services Division, Texas State Library and
Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.
Winegarten, Ruthe and Cathy Schechter, Deep in the Heart of Texas: The Lives and Legends of Texas Jews. Austin,
Texas: Eakin Press, 1990.