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Joseph Jonas, of Cincinnati

Joseph Jonas, of Cincinnati[1]

Male 1792 - 1869  (77 years)

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  • Name Joseph Jonas  [2, 3
    Suffix of Cincinnati 
    Born 1792  Exeter, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Gender Male 
    Immigration 1816  [6
    Census 1 Jun 1860  Cincinnati, OH Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    1860 US 
    Reference Number 271 
    Died 5 May 1869  Spring Hill, Mobile, AL Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Person ID I271  aojd
    Last Modified 11 Nov 2011 

    Mother Annie Ezekiel,   b. 1772, Exeter, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Feb 1851, Cincinnati, OH Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Family ID F106  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Memoirs of American Jews, 1775-1865. Jacob Rader Marcus. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. 1955. Pg 203.

      Joseph Jonas
      The Jews Come to Ohio
      The first known few in Ohio was quite a curiosity. When the twenty-five-year-old settler arrived, an old Quakeress came to see him. She asked: "Art thou a few? Thou art one of God's chosen people. Wilt thou let me examine thee?" She turned him around and finally said, probably with a tinge of disappointment in her voice:
      "Well, thou art no different to other people."

      That few was Joseph Jonas, a native of Exeter, England, who had come to Cincinnati in 1817. Though warned by coreligionists in Philadelphia to avoid the frontier, he came west because of the glow- ing accounts he had read of the Ohio Valley.
      Jonas was completely devoted to his Jewish faith. Even though he was the only known few in the city--in all Ohio, for that matter--he was determined to remain a few, and, if possible, to create, some day, a center of religious life in his town. After a few years he suc-ceeded: he held services, organized a congregation, and built a syna-gogue. Most of the worshipers came from England; a number were kinsmen; one of them was his brother Abraham Jonas, the friend of Abraham Lincoln.
      Though Jonas was a "mechanic," a watchmaker, and silversmith, he had political and literary ambitions. In 1860-61 he served in the Ohio State Legislature, as a Democrat. His literary aspirations voiced themselves in addresses to the congregation, in studies on Biblical themes, and in contributions to the Jewish press. He was an observ-ant Orthodox few of the Isaac Leeser school, mildly progressive, interested in furthering systematic religious instruction for Jewish youth.
      In December, 1843, writing in the third person, he sat down and recalled his early days in Cincinnati. His communication was pub-lished in the form of a letter in Leeser Occident, I (1843-44), 547-50; II (1844-45), 29-31, 143-47, 244-47.
      He died in Spring Hill, near Mobile, Alabama, on May 5, 1869, at the home of a daughter.

  • Sources 
    1. [S285] .

    2. [S4] PG. 136 JONAS, 264 SEIXAS (2) (Reliability: 3).
      QUAY 3

    3. [S4] PG. 326 CORRECTIONS TO PG. 136 JONAS (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S4] PG. 136 JONAS (Reliability: 3).
      QUAY 3

    5. [S250] YEAR: 1860; CENSUS PLACE: CINCINNATI WARD 16, HAMILTON, OHIO; ROLL: M653_978; PAGE: 78; IMAGE: 155. (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S4] PG. 136 JONAS (Reliability: 3).