Sepia Saturday: Finding Lost Treasure, Pt. 7

Continuing with excerpts from my great-grandfather David Blumenfeld's diary, which I discovered two years ago.

Having pursued his father from Lithuania to New York, David’s train now arrives in Ludington, Michigan on 6 o’clock Sunday morning, 1884.

Typical policeman

He walked up from the depot on Main Street, meeting the night policeman. David asked about Mr. Bloomstock [his father’s friend, with whom he was staying], and the policeman, with due politeness, led him to the house. David marveled as he walked along the wide streets, at the store windows with their marvelous display of merchandise without any iron shutters drawn down as was the case in Russia. He …thought how honest a people the Americans must be.

At Bloomstock’s home David is told that his father is now in Milwaukee! His goal ever receding, David takes the steamer that evening across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.


Arriving in the morning, David goes to the address he was given – and is told that his father has just left for the train depot.

He hurried to the depot and there he found Ben-Zion sitting inside the train, about to depart. Father Ben-Zion was glad to see David and to learn that Leah and the children all were in New York.

Steam train

It’s unclear where Ben-Zion is headed; possibly one of his peddling trips? He tells David to wait in Milwaukee until Thursday evening and then they both will go back to Ludington. David wires his mother that she’ll receive tickets for the rest of the trip by the end of the week. He then asks his “boarding boss if he could take him to a shop where he could work for the four days while waiting for his father to return.

The landlord was an obliging sort of man and took David to a shop where the foreman gladly accepted him and put him to work. David’s eyes almost popped out of his head at the end of the period when the foreman handed him eight silver dollars, the first real silver money he ever had seen.

In Ludington, they wire money for the train tickets to the Immigration Office. They are finally able to reach Mr. Zigler, who is

…only too glad to do all he could for Yanke Hennes’ daughter and her children. He signed papers at the Immigration Office that the family would not be a public charge and they were released. They were taken to Mr. Zigler’s home and entertained with the hospitality befitting Yanke Hennes’ daughter.

Emigrants at Ellis Island

In the meantime Ben-Zion bought furniture and rented rooms [in Ludington], and the Bloomstocks prepared to receive the “greenhorn’s” family when they arrived in August, 1884.

So, the family is finally reunited and poised for a rise to success in the new land. However, it is not to be that easy...

To be continued...

And find more fascinating posts at Sepia Saturday blog

Some of these photos were borrowed from the following sites:





  1. What an interesting story. I want to know what happens next!

  2. This is so very interesting; amazing that you have all of this in a diary, what a treasure to have. I will look forward to hearing what happens next.

  3. I've loved this story, Sean, from the start.

  4. Wow...great story and really wonderful photos!

  5. What a wonderful retrospective here.

  6. as fascinating as ever, and yet, i felt compelled to tell Ben-Zion to sit still for a while... man, he's hard to get a hold of...
    great stuff!!
    keep it coming!!