S. J. Katzenstein

From the Saturday Evening Supper Table –Washington, PA June 27, 1896 

To-day The Supper Table presents a portrait of one of Washington’s best known business men.  Mr. Katzenstein has been identified with this community for a quarter century and has an extensive acquaintanceship not only in the town but throughout the county of Washington. 

He came here previous to the completion of the Chartier Valley Railway and rode into Washington from Ewing’s Station on back.  His only acquaintance here was Mr. Henry Schownthal, whose portrait appeared recently in these columns. 

Mr. Katzenstein passed a somewhat eventful career before he came to Washington.  He tried his fortunes in various cities and towns of this country after coming from Germany. His birthplace is Jesberg in what is now the Prussian Province of Hessen-Nassau and his birthday the twenty—third of August 1848. His parents were Gerson and Eva Katzenstein who came to America with their family in 1856, when the subject of this sketch was eight years of age.  They settled in Philadelphia where they resided until they died some years later.  It was in Philadelphia that Mr. Katzenstein received his early education.  However, at the age of fourteen he went to Leavenworth, Kansas, for a six months trip and returning to Philadelphia learned the trade of cigar making.  He remained in the Quaker City at this time for about four years but was compelled to give up his trade, felling that it was detrimental to his health.  He went to Winchester, VA., and took a clerkship, remaining for five years.  Thence he went to Uhrichsville, Ohio, thence to New Castle and on the nineteenth of April 1871, he came to Washington. 

Immediately after he arrived here he took possession of the clothing establishment, which he had previously purchased from Jacob Goldsmith.  This old store will be recalled by many people.  It was located next door to Mr. Katzenstein’s present clothing house and was known by the Sign of the Golden Eagle. 

Mr. Katzenstein has pushed his business forward steadily from year to year and to-day has one of the largest stores in the county, devoted to clothing and gentlemen’s furnishings. 

Mr. Katzenstein is regarded as one of the substantial and enterprising men of the town.  He has always displayed a great interest in the growth of the community and has interested himself in movements looking toward its advancement. He is a thoroughly experienced business man and has been very successful.

Jacob Katzenstein was born 20 Feb 1851 in  Jesberg, Hesse Nassau, Germany. He first married Ellen Bohm. She died in 1889 in the famous Johnstown (PA) Flood with an infant son.  He then married Bertha Miller, the daughter of Samuel Miller and Eliza Leopold.  The Leopold family was a pioneer Jewish family in Johnstown.  Jacob died 4 Oct 1916 in Johnstown and is buried in the Grandview Cemetery.  According to Leonard Winograd, author of The Horse Died at Winber*: "In Philadelphia Jacob started work for a clothing firm.  He came to Johnstown in 1882, as a clerk for Louis Cohen.  He returned to Philadelphia for a few years but then came back to take charge of the Economy clothing Store which belonged to Amos Sulka and himself.  After the flood, he occupied one of the temporary structures in Central Park. Later he removed to the Beilstein property.  In 1895, or 1897 he became a member of the M. Miller and Company clothing firm. Maurice (or Morris) Miller was his brother-in-law, having married Bertha in 1891, after the loss of his first wife and son. Jacob was one of the organizers of the Progress Club and an officer of the Beth Zion Temple. In 1916, a year of his death, Mrs. Katzenstein was a member of the board of Memorial Hospital."

*The Horse Died at Winber: A History of Johnstown's Jews of Pennsylvania by Leonard Winograd.