Following yesterday's post, I was left with a list of questions regarding the severe beating my great-uncle Max took in 1909. Yesterday's article, titled "Berkowitz was Released" revealed an important clue. Max was no stranger to his two assailants, Samuel Berkowitz and Samuel Waskowitz. Samuel Waskowitz was Max's former employer. I would like to know the following:
- What kind of business did Sam Waskowitz own? Was it a grocery store? (Minnie's memoir describes Max's early job as grocery delivery boy).
- Where was Sam Waskowitz's business in 1909? (presumably the "block" where the beating took place).
- What is a block?
- Where was Sam Waskowitz's business located prior to 1909?
- Where was Max employed prior to 1909.
- Why was he hanging around this block?
I hope to answer some of these questions as I continue to trace Max Crane's trail. I feel fortunate to be accompanied by such wonderful readers on this treasure hunt. +Jenny Lanctot's keen eye, predicted my next more and suggested to proceed to the New Britain City Directories looking the two Sams and Max.
Here are the findings beginning with 1909, the year of the incident:
- Max boarded and worked as a clerk at 459 Myrtle Street.
|1909 New Britain Directory|
- Sam Berkowitz owned a grocery and meats store on 648 Main and lived next door on 646 Main Street.
- Sam Waskowitz was a grocer as well. His grocery and meat shop was located at 246 North Street and he was living also living right next door to his place of business, at 250 North street. And then... BINGO! Check out the next entry after Waskowitz Samuel!
1909 New Britain Directory
According to the dictionary on my apple computer, there are at least seven meanings to the word block. When used with a modifier chiefly in British English, A block means: "a large single building subdivided into separate rooms, apartments, or offices: an apartment block."It seems, young Max Crane stubbornly stood at the entrance to his former boss' new building! He was either blocking the door, according to Waskowitz testimony, or according to Max's version, he remained on the curb which was not far enough for the former boss.
|Map of New Britain from the 1910 City Directory|
(Click to enlarge)
|X on the left marks where Max Crane lived and worked in 1909|
X on the right marks the 250 North Street Block, the location of the beating incident.
(Click to enlarge)
To tie things up nicely, I wanted to figure out, where Waskowitz "old" store was and see if by chance, Max was listed in an earlier directory as employed for Waskowitz.
|List of Blocks, Building and Halls|
(Click to enlarge).
Waskowitz's North street store in 1908 was few houses down from the future building. A review of the 1909 Waskowitz listing reveals that Waskowitz Max (a brother perhaps?) was running the 172 Arch street store and boarding at the 250 North street Block. Sam Berkowitz's listing was unchanged. In 1907 (not shown here), Waskowitz ran only the 236 North Street store and lived at the same Hartford Avenue address.
Max arrived in the United States on October 4th, 1905 and headed to NY. He stayed in NYC long enough to know he didn't like living there, probably the better part of 1906. By 1907 he had settled in the City of New Britain (for some reason he was not absent from the 1908 directory). I could have put money that Max's place of employment on the 1907 directory would be 236 North Street, Waskowitz's store. I would have lost my money though. Instead, this is what the 1907 directory had to say about the eighteen year old Max:
|Earliest sighting of Max in a US City directory.|
1907 New Britain City Directory.
According to Wikipedia, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was formed in 1903 from a conglomerate of local unions. Luckily, Wikipedia called attention to an earlier definition of the word teamster, meaning "truck driver or person who drives a team of draft animals." Here I was, jumping to the conclusions about Max being a union organizer, when most likely he was a horse cart driver. According to Minnie he delivered groceries door to door, which would have required driving a truck or a carriage. Back in Russia, the family owned a horse drawn carriage and a horse or two. Max and his brothers helped their father deliver the town's mail using this wagon. He must have known how to drive a cart. Prof of this skill also appears on Max's Connecticut Military Census from 1917. On this form, Max reports to know how to ride a horse and "handle a team," meaning a team of horses! In all likelihood, the City directory listing from 1907 translated into today's terms states that Max was a horse cart driver. He probably delivered the groceries for Waskowitz's clients on this wagon and may not have left the job on good terms. By 1909 Max was employed by a competitor and was promoted to Clerk. Either way, I doubt he was a union organizer.
Why was Max standing on this particular corner no longer worked there and his new home and work place were on the other side of town? I call you attention again to the 1909 City Directory listing.
Aaron Kranowitz, Max uncle was living at 220 North Street! Only a couple of blocks down from Waskowitz's shop. Aaron and Waskowitz were neighbors at least as early as 1907 when Max arrived in town. Max, was taken in by his uncle and the family like a son, although he did not reside with them, as I imagine they did not have space for him in their home. Aaron had five children, the eldest, Louis Kranowitz was only three years younger than his cousin Max. It is very possible that Louis was Max's companion mentioned in the article. Even though Max didn't live on North street, this was his stomping ground. He moved to New Britain because of his Uncle Aaron. He got a job from his uncle's neighbor, Sam Waskowitz. The family must have shopped at the Waskowitz grocery. Why had the relationship deteriorated to the point that Max was no longer welcome on the block remains a mystery. What is clear, is that, the a relationship went sour.
As an added bonus, here is the view of the 250 North Street Block today. Thanks +Jenny Lanctot for the suggestion! The original building appears to be standing and takes up the whole block. It continues to house a few small stores as well as residential units above. Hartford Street is now Martin Luther King.
I hope you are enjoying this series! I promise there is more to come! Stay tuned until next week and enjoy the weekend!
In case you missed earlier posts about Max Crane:
Should Genealogist Spill Family Secrets?
Mystery Monday: Max Crane
Back to Square One
Treasure Trail Heating Up Part I
Trail Heating Up Part II
Source: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.