Moses Yitzhak Winstock

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Moses Yitzhak Winstock

Hebrew: משה יצחק Winstock
Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Virbalis, Vilkaviškis District Municipality, Marijampolė County, Lithuania
Death: January 25, 1905 (86)
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Mordechai Winstock and Sarah Winstock (Friedlander)
Husband of Eva Leah Winstock
Father of Samuel Aron Winstock; Annie R Visanska; Cecelia [Sheina] Winstock; Miriam "Mamie" Winstock; Rebecca Rosenberg and 1 other
Brother of Esther Rachel Levin; Sheina (Jeanette) Friedlander; Benjamin Winstock and Samuel Winstock

Managed by: Hatte Blejer
Last Updated:

About Moses Yitzhak Winstock

Moses (Moshe Yitzhak) & Eva Leah (Chava Leah) Visanska Winstock

Moses was born 1819 in Virbalin, Lithuania (90 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Kovno) and died January 25, 1905 in Charleston South Carolina at age 86. He was one of four children. Eva Leah was born in 1820 and was also one of four children. She died June 1, 1891 in Charleston South Carolina at 71. They married in 1836 in Wierzbelove (Virbalis, Virbalin) Poland/Lithuania. Moses & Eva Leah had 6 children: Samuel 1838, Annie 1842, Cecelia 1853, Miriam 1858, Rebecca 1860 and Israel 1862.

Moses & Eva Leah dreamed of owning their own land and hoped for the fulfillment of this dream in the “New World” . They left Poland with their 2 children Sam & Anne in 1842 and traveled overland to Bremen, Germany where they sailed through the British Channel and disembarked at Liverpool. Moses left Eva Leah and the children in England, while he traveled to America seeking to establish himself enough to be able to send for his family. In 1843, about a year after Moses’ departure, Eva Leah booked ship passage to America for herself and her two children, Sam and Annie. The voyage was unsuccessful, as the ship wrecked off a small island from where they were able to wade ashore. A second attempt was made in early 1845, but they were forced to abandon ship to lifeboats in a terrible storm in the mid-Atlantic. Another ship saved them and took them back to England. A final successful journey was made in 1847, five years after Moses’ departure.

Because of Moses’ bad asthma, the family had moved by 1852 from Charleston to a location recommended by Moses’ peddlers, Due West, about 6 miles from Abbeville SC. They purchased there a 525 acre peace of land for the farming of cotton, corn and other farm products that became known as ‘Winstock Place’. The timing of the move prevented Moses from becoming a founder of B’rith Shalom, the Orthodox Synagogue in Charleston which was organized in 1854 in reaction to Beth Elohim bringing an organ into the services. (This is now the oldest Ashkenazic congregation in continuous use in America.) Hersh Zvi Levin , who had married Moses’ younger sister, Esther Rochel, was a founder of the Synagogue and its first Rabbi.

The family lived in the center of events leading up to the American Civil War. One of the first meetings leading to the secession of South Carolina from the Union was held on Nov. 22 1890 in Abbeville only a few miles down the dirt road leading to Winstock Place in Due West. With the coming of war in 1861, Moses enlisted in Company G, 1st Regiment South Carolina Reserves – Confederate States of America. Though he never actually fought (he was 42 when the war broke out), the war had major impact upon the family, as we will briefly describe.

For safety reasons, the family moved to Columbia rather than Charleston, as they believed Charleston, being where the war started, would be endangered. A warehouse was rented to store Tobacco and cotton from the bumper crops of 1862-63. As it happened, Charleston was not burned, but, like Atlanta (burned on November 15, 1864), Columbia was burned. The home was located on Assembly Street near the State Capital - near the focus of Yankee carnage. On February 17, 1865 General Sherman’s officers interrupted a Shabbos evening meal, and ordered the family to leave the table. They enjoyed a beautiful, delicious meal and then, after desert, burnt the house to the ground. The young children had a mammy who gathered up in a white tablecloth some of the silver and hid it under her skirt as she sat while the home burned. Moses and his family were separated in the confusion for three days. When Moses was finally able to relocate his family, his daughter Miriam saw him approach. Initially, she did not recognize him as his hair had turned from black to white as a result of the ordeal.

The events were described by an eye witness, Rev. Porter (1869):

The city was wrapped in a lurid sheet of flames. It seemed as though the gates of Hell had opened upon up. Thirteen hundred houses were burned that night, and seven thousand women and children driven into the streets.

General Sherman's aide-de-camp was quoted:

"Columbia will have bitter cause to remember our visit. Even if peace and prosperity soon return to the land, not in this generation - no, not for a century - can this city or the state recover from the deadly blow, which has taken its life."

The contents of Moses’ warehouse were taken by Federal troops for their use. In 1871 a claim was presented to the Southern Claims Commission . After reviewing testimony, Moses was found to found to be loyal to the United States for the duration of the Civil War, but was paid in 1874 only a small portion of the value of the property taken. After Moses’ passing, his son-in-law, Abe Rosenberg, perused the case on behalf of the family. The chart below summarizes the events of the case.

1871 - Moses testifies to Southern Claim Commission - Claim disallowed due to lack of evidence

1905 - Case presented to 58th Congress 3rd Secession - I do not know the result.

6/27/1906 - Court referred US Senate Bill 3287 59th Cong 1st Sec. (A bill for the relief of the heirs of Moses Winstock, deceased) - Award of $55,698.75

7/12/1906 - Petition filed in court for payment of $56,418.75 - Claim “substantially averred”

3/11/1912 - Hearing in claims court - Time & place value determined $16,155

5/24/1912 - Hearing in claims court - Claim for $55,698 determined by court to be “equitable”

1915 - The family settled for and was paid $12,924. We do not know why the rest was not paid.

After the war, upon returning to Columbia in 1867, Moses was asked to lead the congregation of Sheayrith Israel as its President. A newspaper of 1867 wrote regarding the organization of the synagogue: "We found they had obtained a large room for a place of worship in a building which was not yet finished. It is in the main street of the city of this desolated capital, and quite central for the scattered Jewish population. Mr. M. Winstock is President." The family returned to farming on the plantation, but Moses and family were forced to move back to Charleston in 1875 due to poor farming conditions. There, Moses sought to support himself by running a store on Kings Street. They lived at 15 St. Philip Street., then at 28 George Street from 1879-1879, and finally at 20 George Street. Moses served as President of B'rith Shalom Synagogue in Charleston, the year before, his son, Uncle Buddy died in 1893. He resumed this responsibility in 1901 until his death in 1905.

Moses is Buried in Magnolia Cemetery - Charleston S.C. Plot #308


Thy righteousness Shall go before thee The glory of the Lord Shall be thy reward

Eva Leah is buried in Magnolia Cemetery - Charleston S.C. Plot #310


Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her Husband also and he praisith her.

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Moses Yitzhak Winstock's Timeline

October 24, 1818
Virbalis, Vilkaviškis District Municipality, Marijampolė County, Lithuania
Age 19
Virbalin (Virbalis), Suwałki Gubernia, Lithuania
May 19, 1841
Age 22
Virbalis, Vilkaviškis District Municipality, Marijampolė County, Lithuania
April 4, 1852
Age 33
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United States
June 27, 1858
Age 39
Due West, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
August 7, 1860
Age 41
Due West, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
June 27, 1862
Age 43
Due West, Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States
January 25, 1905
Age 86
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United States
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United States