Finding John Costello

Finding John Costello – A DNA Journey: The Fried Family, John’s Family, Part 2

Finding John Costello

We left off with a question.

Would Philip be able to free Isidore and reunite a family?

We’ll get back to that in a minute.  First, let’s make sure we are all up to speed on the people, the problems, the inconsistencies, and a few questions.

 

The People

 

We have John Costello, our mystery man who is either Isidore Fried OR Isidore Fried’s full brother.1

 

We have Isidore Fried, his wife Sarah Esther Salzman, and their daughters Leona, Celia, and Fannie.  They look like this:

Isidore & Sarah family group chart

 

We have Fannie Fried, Morris Geier, and their daughter Sarah.  They look like this:

Fannie & Morris family group chart

 

We also have Philip Backus, the man from whom Isidore stole a big wad of cash.2

 

We know that Isidore and Fannie are siblings.  Yep, that is two Fannies.  And two Sarah’s – sort of three.  Let’s make another relationship chart to keep it straight.

Fannie Fried & Isidore Fried sibling chart

 

 

 

The Problems

 

Now, how about those problems?  They are pretty big ones.

1 – Isidore is in the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet and fears he will die before he finishes up his ten-year sentence.3

2 – Sarah is living in Chicago with only two of her three children–Leona and Fannie.  She is without a provider and is relying on The Associated Jewish Charities to pay her rent.4

3 – Two-year-old Celia is living in the New York Infant Asylum as a lodger.5

 

 

The Inconsistencies

 

There were a few troubling statements in that newspaper article.6

1 – How did Philip Backus, described twice as a “small” man, start a fight and hold Isidore, a “big and husky” man for twenty minutes until the police arrived?

2 – Philip said about the police that, “They got $150 for me to pursue the chase.”  Where did the $150 come from?  Didn’t he only have a nickel left?  Was it a promise to pay after Isidore was caught and Philip’s money recouped?

3 – How did Philip pay his way across nine states for two months while he “trailed” Isidore?  Five cents doesn’t usually go that far, even in 1909.

4 – Philip claims that Isidore’s sister was “. . . well to do, and offered to buy me off.”  Fannie was the only known sister of Isidore in the U.S. at the time.  In 1910, she and her husband Morris were renting an apartment in New York City.  Morris was a belt designer.  That doesn’t seem to match the description of being “well to do.”

5 – This isn’t exactly an inconsistency, but I am puzzled by the extremity of Philip’s guilt.  If the story happened exactly as he stated, would he feel so guilty that he couldn’t sleep for two years?  And what about this statement, “It’s an exciting story, and I never cease to think of it.  I have been all over the world since then and have made more money than I had ever dreamed of then.  I sell jewelry.  I am in business for myself and I am my own drummer.”  Was Philip stirring the pot to gain attention for himself?  If so, he certainly got it.  His story appeared in many, many newspapers.

 

Questions

 

But there are other questions about this whole situation.  Like, why was Isidore in Chicago in the first place?  And why was Celia in the Infant Asylum?

I have no solid answer for the latter, but the former, well, I have a theory.  Isidore’s prison record has one very telling entry:

Joliet 18-0372 (1)
Selection from Isidore’s Fried’s Illinois State Penitentiary Record.

 

Prior to being imprisoned at the Illinois State Penitentiary, Isidore was a prisoner on Blackwell’s Island for 6 months.7

Blackwell’s Island, which was later known as Welfare Island, and now Roosevelt Island, was home to several institutions prior to 1909.8  The history of this 147-acre island9 is fascinating.  The Blackwell’s Island Asylum was the first “lunatic” asylum in New York City and is the setting for the famous Nellie Bly/Joseph Pulitzer exposé.10  The prison population was eventually moved to present day Rikers Island.11  But sometime prior to 1909, the prison on Blackwell’s Island housed Isidore Fried.

But when? And why?!

Isidore was most likely a free man when Fannie & Morris arrived at the Port of New York on 10 November 1907 and listed him as the relative they were joining.12  He was also most likely a free man at the time of Fannie’s conception, which if she was born full-term, would have been between 24 January and 3 February 1909.  This means that he would have been on Blackwell’s Island for six months sometime between November 1907 and January 1909.

We could also build a window prior to Fannie’s arrival, but without Isidore and Sarah’s date of arrival that time frame is more muddy.

As for the why, I don’t know yet!  I still haven’t found the Blackwell’s Island records.  [Don’t worry, I’m on it!]

So, what does this all have to do with Isidore being in Chicago?

Well.  What if Isidore served time on Blackwell’s towards the end of the suggested window and then upon release decided to take his family and leave town for a fresh start?  If that is the case, it would explain the long move and the subsequent flight back to New York as a fugitive.  

 

Okay!  Now let’s dive back into our story.

 

 

Was Philip able to free Isidore and reunite a family?

 

Not immediately.  In fact, if anything, Philip’s efforts seemed to make things harder for Isidore.  After Philip’s visit to Isidore in prison on 29 October 1910,13 the next entry in Isidore’s prison record was a change of assignment from the indoor shirt factory to the outdoor quarry on 30 December 1910.14

Exactly 53-days later, young Fannie Fried died on 21 February 1911 in Chicago.  Her cause of death was scarlet fever, acute nephritis, and diphtheria.15

Poor Sarah!  Her husband is in prison for the second time.  Her baby just died at 15-months-old, and her toddler is possibly still in an infant asylum in New York.

Less than five months later, Isidore was paroled on 8 July 1911.16  The application for his parole was received from a man named Jacob Joseph who lived at 633 13th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois.17  Maywood is a suburb of Chicago and the 13th Ave. address was 12.2 miles from Sarah’s address of 154 Maxwell Street at the time of Fannie’s death.18

Isidore worked as a tailor and was paid $6 per week plus board.19  Does this mean he lived at home with Sarah and traveled 12.2 miles back and forth each day?  Transportation at the time would have been a problem.  Was he walking?  Possibly.  Or, did Isidore and Sarah move to Maywood after he was paroled?

However he was doing it, Isidore was toeing the line.  For a while.

He was meeting his parole requirements in August, and September, and October when his parole officer checked in with him.20

But then in November of 1911, something changed.  On the first of the month, he didn’t earn his little tic on his parole record.21

Fifteen days later, this note was added to his prison record:

Joliet 18-0372 (1) copy
Selection from Isidore’s Fried’s Illinois State Penitentiary Record.

 

“Wanted, see PA report –  Warrant – Nov 15/11 Left employer & whereabouts unknown”22

Where did Isidore go?

 

 

Fannie & Morris Return to Europe and Then Return to America

 

Isidore is missing.  There is no definitive information about Sarah’s whereabouts.  Fannie & Morris, who seem to have been living in New York City this whole time, ditch their daughter and go back to Europe.

It’s a funny little detail that could easily be missed.  In fact, if you weren’t looking carefully, you might miss the entire 1907-1911 American experience for the Fried family.

But one very important clue was generated in 1917 when “Moris Geier” petitioned for Naturalization.23  You see, as part of his naturalization paperwork, he needed his certificate of arrival and his declaration of intention.  That certificate of arrival correctly stated that “Moses Gajer” entered the U.S. on 27 August 1912 and that he traveled here aboard the ship Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.24  But what it didn’t state is that it wasn’t the first time Morris had entered the U.S.

That fact can be found on page two, item 17 of the 1912 passenger manifest.25  But it’s awfully hard to read, so even if you did look at it, you still might miss it.

NYT715_1923-0156

 

That clears everything up, right?

Not at all!  It took some study and some help.  Let’s analyze this section of the record together.  Here are the headings:

NYT715_1923-0156 copy

 

 

And here is the entry for Morris and Fannie:

IMG_4900.jpg

 

Whether ever before in the United States; and if so, when and where?

Yes or No: This answer is highlighted in red and reads, “Yes.”

If Yes––

Year or period of years: This answer is highlighted in yellow and green and reads “1907/11.”  That “11” was difficult for me to see in isolation.  It took comparing items throughout the page and a tip from another genealogist.

Where:  In blue, “New York.”

Item 18 asks, Whether going to join a relative or friend; and if so, what relative or friend, and his name and complete address.  This is answered with, “acqu Pinchas Benenson, 167 Stanton str. New-York.”

So Morris and Fannie were in the U.S. from 1907 up until some point in 1911 when they returned to Europe.  But where was their daughter Sarah? She doesn’t return from Europe with them:26

NYT715_1923-0155 copy

 

She hadn’t died, she lived to be 93-years-old.27  The most logical answer is that they left her in the U.S.  That implies a quick trip to Europe and back.  Why would they do that?

I DON’T KNOW!

But the timing is awfully suspicious.  They left the U.S. sometime in 1911.28  They appeared in the 1911 New York City Directory that was issued August 1st.29  So they definitely left before Isidore skipped town in November of 1911.  Likely, they left before Isidore was paroled in July of 1911.  But the order for Isidore’s parole was at the beginning of June in 1911.30  Did their trip have something to do with Isidore’s parole order?

Maybe.

No matter what sent them running off to Europe, they were back by the end of August 1912.31

 

 

Schije & Hinde Freid Join Fannie in New York

 

One year later, on 13 September 1913, Fannie’s father and sister arrived in the U.S.  “Schije” and “Hinde Freid” traveled aboard the ship Amerika from Hamburg to the Port of New York.  They listed “Moritz Geier of 212 E 2nd str. New York” as the family member they were joining.32  The same address that Fannie & Morris Geier lived at from 1913-1918.33

Interestingly, Hinde, who would go by Anna in the U.S., was not supposed to make that trip.  According to her descendants, her sister Sara, or Sura, was supposed to travel with their father but she, “. . .came down with some sort of pox- we don’t know if it was chicken pox, or measles, or some other rash illness, but she was too sick to travel.”  Fatefully, Anna, went in her place.34

Almost two years after his arrival, Samuel Fried was living with his daughter Fannie and her family on 1 June 1915.  The four family members, Morris, Fannie, and Sarah Geier along with Samuel, were living in New York City, at “210/212 East 2d.”35  Notably, Anna was not there, nor has she been found on the 1915 New York State Census.

This 1915 record would mark the last known moment when any members of the four Fried households–Isidore, Fannie, Anna, and Samuel–would live together.  There would only be one more record that showed two Fried family members crossing paths.

 

What caused the divide?  Was it Isidore? Where did Isidore go?  And what became of his family?

 

 

to be continued . . .

 

 

 


  1. Amberly Beck, “Finding John Costello – A DNA Journey: Isidore Fried & Sarah Esther Salzman Data Analysis,” 14 May 2019, thegenealogygirl.blog. 
  2. “Former Corporation Head Under Charges,” The Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois), 23 March 1909, p. 1, col. 4, par. 4 of article, “A requisition . . . return to Chicago of Isadore Fried . . .”; image Newspapers (https://www.newspapers.com/image/93164443/?terms=isadore%2Bfried : accessed 14 June 2019).  Department of Corrections, “Alton State Penitentiary and Joliet/Stateville Correctional Center – Registers of Prisoners,” Record Series 243.200, Illinois State Archives, Joliet Vol. 18, Oct 30, 1908-Feb 2, 1910, entry for Isadore Fried, date received 30 June 1909.  “Pleads for Man Who Robbed Him,” Chicago Tribune, 29 October 1910, p. 3, col. 1; image Newspapers (https://www.newspapers.com/image/355237987/?terms=isadore%2Bfried : accessed 19 April 2019).  “Visits Man He Sent to Prison,” The Joliet News (Joliet, Illinois), 29 October 1910, p. 1, col. 7; image Newspapers (https://www.newspapers.com/image/548559499/?terms=isadore%2Bfried : accessed 14 June 2019). 
  3. “Pleads for Man Who Robbed Him,” Chicago Tribune, 1910. 
  4. “Pleads for Man Who Robbed Him,” Chicago Tribune, 1910. 
  5. 1910 U.S. census, New York Co., NY, pop. sch., sheet 17A (penned), New York Infant Asylum, line 25, Celia Fried, lodger. 
  6. “Pleads for Man Who Robbed Him,” Chicago Tribune, 1910. 
  7. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  8. New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, “What Was Blackwell’s Island?,” (https://www.nyhistory.org/community/blackwells-island : accessed 21 June 2019). 
  9. Wikipedia, (https://www.wikipedia.org), “Roosevelt Island,” rev. 12:15 p.m., 21 June 2019. 
  10. “Blackwell’s Island Asylum,” (http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php/Blackwell%27s_Island_Asylum : accessed 21 June 2019). 
  11. New York Department of Corrections, “Before Rikers, Blackwell’s Was DOC’s Island Home” part 1, 1995, (http://www.correctionhistory.org/html/chronicl/nycdoc/html/blakwel1.html : accessed 21 June 2019). 
  12. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 May 2019), entry for Moses Geier, age 24, and Feige Geier, age 20, arrived New York 10 November 1907 aboard the Wittekind from Bremen. 
  13. “Pleads for Man Who Robbed Him,” Chicago Tribune, 1910. 
  14. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  15. County Clerk, Cook County, Illinois, “Chicago death certificates, 1878-1915,” Fannie Fried, 21 Feburary 1911, certificate #4959; image FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DBLZ-B4?i=391&cat=42925 : accessed 9 August 2018), DGS film #4004922, image 392 of 1425; citing FHL microfilm #1287598. 
  16. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  17. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  18. County Clerk, Cook Co., Ill., “Chicago death certificates,” Fannie Fried, 1911. 
  19. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  20. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  21. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  22. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  23. Moris Geier petition for naturalization (18 December 1917), naturalization file no. 73596; imaged in “New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9M8-KDLK?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-F38%3A326209701%2C329719601 : 7 November 2018), New York > Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1917-1918 vol 298, no 73551-73800 > image 124 of 661; citing various county clerk offices of New York.  See page two for date of naturalization. 
  24. Moses Gajer certificate of arrival (6 December 1917), naturalization file no. 73596; imaged in “New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9M8-KDLK?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-F38%3A326209701%2C329719601 : 7 November 2018), New York > Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1917-1918 vol 298, no 73551-73800 > image 124 of 661; citing various county clerk offices of New York. 
  25. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 May 2019), entry for Moses Gajer, age 28, and Feige Gajer, age 26, arrived New York 28 August 1912 aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse from Bremen. 
  26. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry, entry for Moses Gajer, age 28, and Feige Gajer age 26, arrived 28 August 1912, Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse. 
  27. Social Security Administration, “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2019), entry for Sarah G. Brownstein, 1 October 2002, SS no. 092-03-5124. 
  28. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry, entry for Moses Gajer, age 28, and Feige Gajer age 26, arrived 28 August 1912, Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse. 
  29. Trow Directory, Printing and Bookbinding Company, compiler, 1911 General Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx City of New York, Volume CXXV, p. 542, for Morris Geier; digital image, The New York Public Library, Digital Collections online (https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/9796f8b0-7d0b-0134-41a7-00505686a51c#/?uuid=e70ab230-7d0b-0134-16e3-00505686a51c : accessed 21 June 2019). 
  30. Department of Corrections, “Registers of Prisoners,” Isadore Fried, 30 June 1909. 
  31. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry, entry for Moses Gajer, age 28, and Feige Gajer age 26, arrived 28 August 1912, Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse. 
  32. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry, entry for Schije Fried, 51, arrived 13 Sep. 1913, Amerika. 
  33. Moris Geier declaration of intention (18 February 1913), no. 61748, naturalization file no. 73596; imaged in “New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9M8-KDLK?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-F38%3A326209701%2C329719601 : 7 November 2018), New York > Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1917-1918 vol 298, no 73551-73800 > image 124 of 661; citing various county clerk offices of New York.  Trow Directory, Printing and Bookbinding Company, compiler, 1914 General Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx City of New York, Volume CXXVII, p. 443, for Morris Geier; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 May 2019).  1915 New York State Census, New York County, “Enumeration of the Inhabitants,” p. 42 (penned) [crossed out, the previous and subsequent pages were renumbered as 109 and 111, this page’s new number is not visible], New York City, election district 9, assembly district 6, lines 42-45, Morris Geier household [indexed as Moris Geier]; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 May 2019); citing New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915.  Moris Geier petition for naturalization (18 December 1917), naturalization file no. 73596; imaged in “New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9M8-KDLK?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-F38%3A326209701%2C329719601 : 7 November 2018), New York > Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1917-1918 vol 298, no 73551-73800 > image 124 of 661; citing various county clerk offices of New York.  “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 May 2019), card for Morris Geier, serial no. 2272, Local Draft Board 102, City of New York, New York County, New York; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1765753. 
  34. Cousin “Sarah,” great-granddaughter of Hinde Fried, email to author, 29 March 2019. 
  35. 1915 New York State Census, New York County, “Enumeration of the Inhabitants,” p. 42 (penned) [crossed out, the previous and subsequent pages were renumbered as 109 and 111, this page’s new number is not visible], New York City, election district 9, assembly district 6, lines 42-45, Morris Geier household [indexed as Moris Geier]; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 May 2019); citing New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915. 

12 thoughts on “Finding John Costello – A DNA Journey: The Fried Family, John’s Family, Part 2”

    1. Thank you, Luanne!! That is very kind of you to say. 🙂 Another cousin agreed to test last night and I mailed off the DNA kit today!!!!!!

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