The Mystery Package

I looked for my great-great-grandfather, George C Spiegel, at NewspaperArchives.com, focusing specifically on newspapers in Savannah, Georgia, and the years 1869 to 1871. We know from census records that George and his wife, Sophia, lived in Savannah, Georgia from 1869 or earlier to 1871 when they moved to Dallas, Texas. In both towns, George’s occupation was Cigar Maker. The couple’s first two children, George, Jr. (b. 1869), and Cassie (b. 1871) were born in Georgia, and their third child was born November 1872 in Dallas. She was my great-grandmother, Helen “Nellie” Spiegel Dobbs. The result of my query was a few hits for what was essentially the same item – a list of approximately 200 unclaimed packages that were being held by a shipping company in Savannah and were soon to be auctioned. The list ran for a few days in March 1871. One of the items in the list was for a package being held for Spiegel, G. C. in the care of S. Solomon – Savannah.

That is all the search rendered for “George Spiegel.” So, I did a second search this time for “S. Solomon” also restricting my search to Savannah in the same range of years. I found “S. Solomon” appearing several times in Savannah newspapers, and these were mainly advertisements for a cigar manufacturer in the city of Savannah. It seems fairly obvious that this was George Spiegel’s employer. The location of the cigar factory is given as “Bryan Street between Whitaker and Bull streets, three doors above Pulaski House.” The Pulaski House Hotel was established in 1835. It was located at Bull and St. Julian Streets at Johnson Square until the late-20th century.

This same ad appeared in the Savannah Morning News from the earliest I could find, 1867 and at the latest 1871.

In October 1868, there was a notice published in that same paper, regarding a meeting of “Segar manufacturers,” and listed in that notice was “S. Solomon.” It appears that the meeting was called as the result of organizing activity on the part of “the Protective Union of Tobacconists in the United States.” In a previous post, I speculated that George left New York City because of labor issues in that city. Fun Fact: 19th Century labor activist Samuel Gompers was a cigar maker by trade and in 1867 was a founding member of the Cigar Makers’ International Union (CMIU).

It appears that in late 1871, there was some sort of a change in Mr. Solomon’s business status. Under an advertisement for a liquor merchant which was located opposite the Louisville Railroad station was a notice from “S Solomon” informing the public that in conjunction with Messrs. Quinan & Immen, he was selling at their place “Segars and Tobacco of the same quality and prices at his city store.”

As far as I could tell, after that, no further adverts from “S. Solomon” appeared in Savannah newspapers. And as to what was in the mystery package left at the Southern Express Company, we may never know.

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