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PEIXOTTO, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

PEIXOTTO, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

PEIXOTTO, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (13 Nov. 1834-18 Sept. 1890), journalist, lawyer, and diplomat, was born in New York City, son of Rachel (Seixas) and DANIEL LEVY PEIXOTTO. He was brought to Cleveland at 2 when his father accepted a position at Willoughby University Medical School, left with his family in 1841, but returned at 13. Peixotto entered the retail clothing business in the mid-1850s with Geo. A. Davis, and became an editorial writer for the PLAIN DEALER in 1856, quitting the paper in 1862 when it sympathized with Copperheads.

In 1855, Peixotto and Davis founded the Hebrew Benevolent Society; Peixotto was its secretary. In 1863 Peixotto helped found the first Cleveland lodge of B'NAI B'RITH. In 1860, he founded the Young Men's Hebrew Literary Society, four years later convincing it to affiliate with B'nai B'rith as Montefiore Lodge. At 29, Peixotto was elected leader (Grand Saar) of the national B'nai B'rith for 4 years. He helped B'nai B'rith District #2 decide to establish the JEWISH ORPHAN ASYLUM in Cleveland, pushed for a $1 capitation tax on members, and organized women's groups in 9 cities to raise funds for the orphanage. Peixotto was a member of Tifereth Israel, serving as its treasurer and trustee, and establishing and superintending its Sunday school in 1858. Peixotto left Cleveland in 1866 for New York City, where he established a law firm. In 1870, he became American consul to Romania, and in 1877 to Lyon, France until 1885, when he returned to New York. He married Hannah Strauss in 1858 and had one child, George. Peixotto died in New York and was buried there.