Abraham Rosenberg

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Abraham Rosenberg

Birthplace: Suwalki, Suwałki County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland
Death: October 21, 1920 (61)
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob Hirsch Rosenberg and Batya Margolis
Husband of Rebecca Rosenberg
Father of Dr. Herbert J. Rosenberg; Sam Winstock Rosenberg; Marion Lester Rosenberg; Colonel Ernest Royal Rosenberg; Evelyn Annie Rosenberg and 1 other
Brother of Max Rosenberg; Philip Rosenberg and Samuel Rosenberg

Occupation: merchant
Managed by: Hatte Anne Blejer
Last Updated:

About Abraham Rosenberg

Abraham “Abe” & Rebecca “Granny” Winstock Rosenberg

Abraham (Avraham ben Yaakov Hirsh) was one of the four sons of Basya and Yaakov Hirsh Rosenberg of Suwalki Poland (Moses Winstock came from the same area). Yaakov Hirsh died at age 27 leaving Basya to raise the boys Philip, Max (Mordechai), Abe and Sam (never married). Abe lived from July 3, 1859 until October 21, 1920.

Rebecca, the youngest daughter of Moses & Eva Leah Winstock, was born August 7, 1860 in Due West SC. She died May 14, 1952 in Greenwood SC and is buried in Columbia, SC. Rebecca was named after her brother Sam’s first wife who died very young. Grandchildren spoke of Abe and Rebecca as Grandpa and Granny Rosenberg.

A cousin of Grandpa Abe, Wolfe Rosenberg, opened the first family mercantile store on Oct. 2, 1872 in Abbeville, SC. Wolfe invited first Grandpa Abe’s brother Philip to come from New York and then Abe to come from Europe to help run the store. Wolfe remained with the store 5 years until Feb. 20, of 1877 when he sold it to Philip. G. A. Visanska remained to work in the store and Wolfe returned to Europe after being spurned in an unsuccessful courtship of CeceliaWinstock, Moses and Eva Leah’s third child. The following regarding the store in Abbeville is from the University of South Carolina library Manuscripts collection where a large amount of the records for the business are preserved. Rosenberg Mercantile Company Records (Abbeville, S.C.) 1881-1965

It was one of the most successful businesses in Abbeville over the final two decades of the nineteenth century. A second store was opened in 1882. In 1895 the Press and Banner reported that "P. Rosenberg & Co. has attained greater financial success than any other firm in town. They own more bank stock, more town bonds, more mortgages, more farming land, more town property than any other firm in Abbeville County. The Rosenbergs owned three storefronts and leased two others. The partners were also prominent in town affairs, with Philip Rosenberg serving on the school board and G.A. Visanka serving as vice-president of the Abbeville Cotton Mill. Philip Rosenberg eventually purchased G.A. Visanka's interest in the business, and in 1907 Sol H. Rosenberg assumed management of the firm under the name of Rosenberg Mercantile Company.

The correspondence and business records in this collection provide information about the many different entrepreneurial interests of the Rosenberg family. In addition to the mercantile business (hardware, dry goods, and farm supplies), they owned large amounts of land on which they harvested timber and rented to tenants. They also operated a real estate business

Abraham arrived in Abbeville from Suwalki Poland at age 14 to help in the store, where he slept upstairs to guard merchandise in the difficult days of reconstruction.  He went to private school in Abbeville with the younger Winstock children and there met Rebecca Winstock, his future wife. Rebecca traveled to school by buggy 7miles from her home in Due West SC.

At the age of 16, Abe rode horseback with the Kershaw Guards formed by Colonel Kershaw . He loved riding horseback. The Colonel had served with General Wade Hampton’s famous Red Shirts who fought mainly politically against radical Republican Reconstruction policies in the South.

Abe became dissatisfied working as a salesman in the store in Abbeville, resigned and went to work for a cousin’s clothing store in Camden, SC near Columbia. There, he joined an interracial drill group. Though only 5’2”, he was awarded a tall pompom as the best drill soldier. He sent a copy of the picture of himself with this award to Rebecca with the caption: “Corporal Abraham Rosenberg, Kershaw Guards, 1880.”

After learning the retail clothing business, Abe searched for a growing and promising town in which to settle and to found his own store. Greenwood was a name that kept coming up. Among his principals was that all customers would be treated equally regardless of race. When he opened his store in Greenwood in 1884, there was no bank. He took the 3 hour buggy ride to Abbeville each Sunday and used a bank there. When the Bank of Greenwood opened, he was one of the first depositors.

Abraham & Rebecca married May 27, 1885 in Charleston. Rebecca came to Greenwood SC as a bride that same year. Shortly thereafter, Abe built a large new home for his bride on Magnolia Street. The site of their home was selected because it was across the street from the grammar school, while the store was about a 5 minute walk away. All six of Grandpa and Granny’s children were born in that house: four sons - Herbert (March 16, 1886), Sam (August 11, 1887), Marion (Oct. 31, 1889), Ernest (Nov. 18, 1892), and two daughters - Evelyn (April 30, 1895) and Helen (April 23,1898).

In 1910, Abraham reduced his double fronted store and closed his lady’s department. That same year, on May 26, 1910, Abe and Rebecca had a grand 25th anniversary celebration at their large Magnolia Street home attended by much of the family, including Herbert age 24, Sam age 23, Marion age 21, Ernest age 18 and Arbie age 15. A complete set of Gorham Silver flatware in the Buttercup pattern was selected as a anniversary gift on the occasion.

Rebecca & Abraham had many guests for Shabbos meals. The house was not kosher, but no pork, etc. The story from Carol Rosenberg Loeb is that they stopped keeping kosher after a doctor prescribed some non-kosher foods for health purposes.

Abe had a heart condition and was sent by the doctor friends of brother Herbert at Emory Hospital in Atlanta to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for an experimental treatment that involved placing him in packed ice for hours. Tragically, this further weakened his heart.

Grandpa and Granny built a new home patterned after one built by cousin Julius and Sara Visanska in Charleston at 19 East Battery. The Charleston house was designed by the architect Albert Simons and patterned after a mansion in Atlanta. Grandpa died unexpectedly Oct. 21, 1920, the day they were to move into the new home at the corner of Cambridge Street and Elm Court. It took many months before the grieving family finally forced themselves to move into their new home. Granny remained in intense mourning for a year, and wore all black for most of the remainder of her life, never dating anyone else. What saved her emotional condition was son Ernest. He had been living in Charleston at his cousin’s Julius and Sarah Visanska’s house on East Battery after completing his service in WWI, but returned to Greenwood to take care of the family and to help run the business in his father’s absence. Grandpa Abe had extracted a promise that, should anything happen to him, Ernest would return to Greenwood.

Grandpa Abe is buried in the Gadsden Street Cemetery in Columbia next to where the infant daughter, Helen had been buried. He had been very active in community affairs and among other things had helped to establish Lander College in Greenwood. He was a member of the Greenwood Masonic Lodge, 91, having joined March 3, 1914.

After Granny’s father Moses Winstock passed away in 1905, and Granny’s sister Celi passed away in 1906, Granny brought her sister Aunt Mamie (Miriam) into the house in Greenwood to live. Aunt Mamie, Aunt Celi and their father had been living together at 57 George Street in Charleston, the home where also Uncle Buddy died in 1893. Arbie had then to care of both her aunt and mother. See the section “Evelyn Annie “Arbie” Rosenberg” for a description of this situation.

Text of letter from Granny to her son Herbert – March 1921

Tues. S.U.15th, Mch.

My Darling, Only a few lines to tell you how much happiness & good luck I wish for you in coming years. May our good & merciful Father give you & yours all that is best in this life & the one to come. Many happy returns my darling of your birth day. Oh! how we each one miss you & our precious Carol. Trust you got home safely & on time- also that your course of Med. will do you lots of good. I’m sorry not learning leaving from home marred the pleasure of your visit – but I trust you found Rosalie & Herby well & all your patients doing nicely. Be sure & let me know just how everything is. Evelyn took C.R.C. last night & I hope she will soon feel well – will begin on the soda to-day. My head is better this S.U. No servant though & no prospects yet – that should be my biggest worry. Darling this little check is just a reminder of what we used to do on your birth day – buy something good to smoak for it. No more for to day. Send kisses and love to your Rosalie & the precious babies. Always Your devoted Momma Love to Marion & L.

Here is cousin Evie’s childhood memory of a Sabbath in Greenwood:

Friday’s Sabbath at Granny’s was always a dress-up night. We ate in the dining room, set with crisply ironed white damask cloth and used the heavy monogrammed silver. On the sideboard reigned the two silver candelabra saved from Columbia. (on Passover there were many boxes stacked in the pantry from Columbia.) Lycee and I were always permitted to sip from small crystal wine glasses and from our youngest ages joined-in proudly with the prayers over the candles, bread and wine. After dinner, Mama and Daddy walked back home for a night alone and Lycee and I took our overnight cases upstairs to the bedrooms. The sound of the distant train whistle accompanied the chirp of grasshoppers and sometimes we could see lightening bugs. It was so pleasant.

Saturday morning was our time with Aunt Mamie. She was the storyteller of the family, and probably the person most responsible for getting me interested in the family history. When she told us about her parents, Moses and Eva Leah, it was as if they were still alive. I could hardly wait for more stories. She sat in a big rocker in the sunroom while Lycee and I were on small stools at her feet. Afterwards he have each of us 10¢ for admission to the State movie theater …

Granny Rosenberg’s wedding dress and other articles which belonged to her have been donated to the Temple in Charleston, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elokim.

Beck Hozore, Carol Rosenberg Loeb’s 1st cousin, said that Granny was an impatient and demanding person. In her latter years, Granny was the matriarch of the family. According to Aunt Barbara Rosenberg, “What she said, went.”

Granny served as 1st Vice President of the Greenwood Hospital Assoc. which built Greenwood Hospital, aided in establishing Greenwood’s 1st library and served as President of the American Legion Auxiliary. She was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Photos attached to profile are entitled:

  • A. Rosenberg clothing and shoe store Main Street, Greenwood, S.C., ca. 1910
  • Inset: Corporal Abraham Rosenberg, Kershaw Guards Camden, S.C., 1880
  • Photographs courtesy of Evelyn Rosenberg Gross-Brein
  • In the fall of 1884, Abraham Rosenberg moved to Greenwood, South Carolina, population 500, and opened a clothing and shoe store. He had arrived in South Carolina from Poland in 1875, and worked in Abbeville in a cousin’s store, and later in Camden, before going into business for himself. As a member of Kershaw’s Guard of the South Carolina Militia, an interracial company, Rosenberg had won the pompom hat for best-drilled soldier.

Record in JRI-P (Jewish Gen) of his birth in Suwalki in 1859:

  • ROZEMBERG Abram 1859 B(irth) Akta 233 son of Hirsz and Baszka MARGOLIS Microfilm 752,622
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Abraham Rosenberg's Timeline

July 3, 1859
Suwalki, Suwałki County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland
March 16, 1886
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
August 11, 1887
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
October 31, 1889
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
November 18, 1892
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
April 30, 1895
Abbeville, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
April 23, 1898
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
October 21, 1920
Age 61
Greenwood, Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States
Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery, Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina, United States