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Nathan Levy

Birthplace: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Death: December 21, 1753 (49)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Moses (Raphael) Levy and Rachel Asher Levy
Husband of Michal Levy
Father of Rachel Levy; Michel Levy and Philadelphia Levy
Brother of Bilhah Abigail Franks; Asher Levy; Moses Levy; Isaac Levy; Michael (Jechiel) Levy and 3 others
Half brother of Rachel Franks Seixas; Hayman M. Levy; Miriam Hart; Nathaniel Levy, I; Esther (Hetty) Hart and 5 others

Managed by: Carlos F. Bunge
Last Updated:

About Nathan Levy

Nathan Levy (1704 - 1753) was the founder of the first Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia and a prominent merchant. He engaged in the general commission business with David Franks under the firm name Levy & Franks.

The oldest decipherable tomb in the Mikvah Israel Cemetery is that of Nathan Levy. Among the other distinguished members of the Philadelphia Jewish community who are now interred at the cemetery are great American patriot Haym Salomon, influential pioneer Aaron Levy, members of the Gratz and Phillips families, scores of Jewish veterans of the wars of the American Revolution and of 1812, all alongside distinguished leaders of the Mikveh Israel synagogue.

For centuries Jews have believed America to be a land of freedom and financial opportunity. One such Jew was Moses Raphael Levy, who achieved tremendous financial success as an American colonial merchant.

Levy was born in 1665 in Germany to Isaac and Beila Levy. He relocated to England and his marriage to his first wife, Richea (Rycha) Asher, took place in 1695[i] in London’s Bevis Marks Synagogue.

Three children were born in London – Bilhah Abigail (b. 1696), Asher (b. 1699), and Nathan (b. 1704). According to family tradition, Moses enjoyed some financial success in England.

“After accumulating something of a competency in London, he thought he saw in the New World opportunities for adding to it, and about the year 1705 landed in New York City.”[ii]

The Levys were accompanied by Moses’s brother, Samuel, and his wife, Rachel Asher who was Beila’s sister. (The practice of brothers solidifying family and business ties by marrying sisters was not uncommon at this time.) A young man named Jacob Franks, who would eventually marry Bilhah Abigail, also came with them.[iii]

Some of Levy’s twelve children “became the ancestors of very distinguished Jews in the generations to follow. One of his sons was the real founder of the Philadelphia Jewish community, another was one of the first Jews in Baltimore. A grandson of his, likewise named Moses Levy, was considered by Jefferson for a cabinet post.”[v] The Liberty Bell was transported to America on the ship Myrtilla which belonged to Nathan Levy, Moses’s eldest son.

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Nathan Levy's Timeline

February 18, 1704
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, United States
December 21, 1753
Age 49
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States