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                    Herman Greenbaum, an original petitioner of Sacramento Lodge, was born November 12, 1826 at Muenchweiler, in Rhenish, Bavaria, known as the Palatinate. Here he was reared and educated. He was the fifth of ten children of Jacob and Caroline Gruenebaum who were married in 1818 in Muenchweiler, where they lived until 1838 then moving to Kaiserlautern, also in the Palatinate. There the mother died in 1841. An elder brother emigrated to the United States in 1838 and Herman who had been apprenticed to a shoemaker and seeking freedom of opportunity followed in 1843. First locating in Philadelphia, Pa., he then joined his two brothers in Holly Springs, Mississippi where they started in business. On May 12, 1847, the father with the remaining children left Germany landing in New York, July 1, 1847. Soon thereafter they went to Philadelphia and then the entire family moved to Chicago, Illinois. When the sons decided to come to California they first induced their father to return to Philadelphia with the two young daughters who were entrusted to the loving care of Marcus Cauffman and his wife Bella, old family friends from Kaiserlautern who, having no children of their own, welcomed this family addition. In Philadelphia the Greenbaum girls met a young niece of Marcus Cauffman, Rosalia Cauffman who was destined to marry the brother Herman. With family affairs settled, Herman, with friends from Chicago, started overland from St. Joseph, Missouri in the Spring of 1850 headed for California arriving in Sacramento after a five month's trip. His brother Leon and partner had traveled by sea, via Panama, and Herman joined them in San Jose where they opened a clothing & dry goods store. The brothers shortly moved their business to San Francisco where, on May 3, 1851, a disastrous fire destroyed their store and claimed the life of Leon. In the fall of that year Herman and another brother Jacob purchased a clothing business in Sacramento at 128 J Street at the S.E. corner of Fifth and J Streets, and operated under the name of Greenbaum and Bro. Wholesale and Dry Goods Merchants. Moses Greenbaum, a third brother, worked as a clerk in this store. On November 2, 1852, their store was destroyed by the disastrous fire which burned most of the city and the following month Sacramento was inundated by flood waters which forced the Greenbaums and other merchants to move about five miles up the American River where they opened stores in tents. In the spring of 1853 they were reestablished at the J Street address. Herman returned to Philadelphia in July 1857 and married Rosalia Cauffman. Returning with his bride to Sacramento they joined Herman's sister Sarah who had married Louis Sloss in 1855. The family in Sacramento was shortly to include the younger Greenbaum sister Hannah who married Lewis Gerstle in 1858. It is interesting to note that the partners, Louis Sloss who came overland to California in 1849 and Lewis Gerstle who arrived by sea in 1850 were later to found the Alaska Commercial Company which played a historic part in the development of Alaska. In 1858 Herman, still maintaining his partnership in the Sacramento store, moved to San Francisco where he looked after the interests of the firm, maintaining his office at 71 California Street. The brothers Herman and Jacob sold their interests in the Sacramento store in 1862 and, with Henry Woodleaf, did business as importers and jobbers in clothing under the name of H. Cohn & Co. The business required a New York buyer and late in 1862 Herman moved his family to New York. The Greenbaum brothers, Herman, Jacob and Moses in 1868 opened their own business in San Francisco under the name of Greenbaum Brothers, manufacturers, importers and jobbers, clothing and gents' furnishing goods, at No. 7 Sansome Street. Herman remained in New York as buyer. In 1878 the firm was operating at 524-526 Market Street and 23-25 Sutter Street. Returning to San Francisco with his family in July 1878 Herman established residence at 1917 Franklin Street. A year or so later he and his brother Jacob left the clothing business and with August Helbing and Emmanuel Strauss formed an enterprise under the name of Greenbaum, Helbing & Co., Stockbrokers, 232 Montgomery Street, San Francisco. He again went to New York in 1881 to enlarge the firm but that project was abandoned and he returned to San Francisco. In 1882 ill health dictated the selling of his interest in the firm which then became known as Greenebaum, Helbing & Co., Stockbrokers, (Jacob Greenebaum and Emmanuel Strauss). After a lingering illness he passed away Feb. 1, 1883 at his Franklin Street home leaving his wife Rosalia and seven children, Caroline (Mrs. I. N. Walter) born in Sacramento; Emil, Bertha (Mrs. Wm. Haas) and Joseph, born in San Francisco; and Alfred, Louis, and Stella (Mrs. Alfred Simon) born in New York. Herman Greenebaum was instrumental in building up a large and prosperous enterprise in San Francisco. He was one of the well known and highly honored pioneer merchants of the city where he achieved material success and established a reputation as a loyal, liberal and public spirited citizen of sterling personal character.  It is not known where Herman Greenebaum was made a Mason but as soon as he arrived in Sacramento he became active in Masonic Circles and assisted in the organization of Sacramento Lodge No. 40. He served our Lodge as Junior Steward during the year 1854. On removing to San Francisco he dimitted from Sacramento Lodge No. 40 on September 3, 1855 and within a year affiliated with Fidelity Lodge No. 120 of San Francisco. The date of affiliation is not known as the records of that Lodge were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1906. In the proceedings of the Grand Lodge he is shown as having withdrawn from Fidelity Lodge No. 120 in 1863. After taking up his residence in New York he apparently did not affiliate with any Lodge there as the Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York informs us that his name can not be found in the New York Grand Lodge records. Note: For a large part of the above biographical sketch of Herman Greenebaum and for a copy of his photograph we are indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lilienthal of San Francisco. Mrs. Lilienthal is a granddaughter of Herman Greenebaum and Mr. Lilienthal is the grandson of Mrs. Louis Sloss, a sister of Herman Greenebaum.





Transcribed by Sally Kaleta.

Proofread by Betty Vickroy.

2007 Sally Kaleta.





Sacramento County