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THORMAN, SIMPSON

THORMAN, SIMPSON (sometimes given as "Simson") (1811-12 June 1881), businessman and the first permanent Jewish resident of Cleveland, was born in Unsleben, Bavaria, immigrated to the U.S. by the late 1820s, passed through Cleveland in 1832, purchasing land at Erie (E. 9th) and Woodland, then went to Donaphin, Mo., where he was a trapper and purchased land. Thorman returned to Cleveland in 1837, settling in the FLATS and continuing in the hide and fur business, making periodic trips to St. Louis to purchase pelts from trappers and Indians. Although he remained in this business until his retirement, he also owned a grocery for a time, and in the late 1850s owned a cattleyard and slaughterhouse. In 1839, several friends and acquaintances from Unsleben settled in Cleveland and Thorman and his cousins Aaron Lowentritt and Isaac Hoffman established the Israelitic Society of Cleveland, the city''s first Jewish congregation. The following year, Thorman was an incorporator of WILLETT ST. CEMETERY, the city''s first Jewish burial ground, which he gave to the city. He was a founder and first president (1853-59) of the Solomon Lodge No. 6 of B''NAI B''RITH, the first chapter of B''nai B''rith in Cleveland. In 1867, he served 1 term on CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL. Thorman married Regina Klein (1816-1885) in 1840, the first Jewish marriage in the city. That same year a son, Samuel, was born, the first Jewish child born in Cleveland. In all, the Thormans had 11 children: Samuel, Esther, Elizabeth, Laura, Rebecca, Fanny, Abraham, Judy, Frank, Simon, and a son who died in infancy.


Finding aid for the Thorman Family Papers. WRHS. Finding aid for the Thorman Family Papers, Series II. WRHS.