Simon Wolfe


Orangeburg, SC


In 1859, Simon Wolfe (1828-1901) and his wife Enstina (birth date/death date undetermined) immigrated to the United States from Rogassen, Prussia (present-day Rogozno, Poland).1 Upon their arrival in the United States, the couple initially lived in New York. There, they would welcome their first child into the world before moving to South Carolina around 1860. Simon and Esther ultimately added another seven children to their family during the remainder of their lives in the Palmetto State. By 1870, the Wolfe family was living in Orangeburg, SC. According to that year’s census, they were very well off. Simon worked as a retail dry goods merchant, Esther watched over the house and younger children, and the older children attended school. The family’s personal estate was valued at $21,500, quite a fortune in 1870. Additionally, the family employed a domestic servant named Mary Levi (c.1849-undetermined). Like Simon and Esther, Mary immigrated to the United States from Prussia, and based on her last name she was presumably Jewish. Mary’s cultural and religious identity would have been ideal for the Wolfe family as she presumably knew how to prepare traditional meals, keep a kosher kitchen, and converse in Yiddish. By 1873, the Wolfe family was living in Camden, SC. There, Simon opened a retail dry goods and grocery store and worked as a junk, scrap metal, and animal hide dealer. Simon retired from the mercantile business by 1900.



1 “Enstina” is the name of Simon Wolfe’s wife in the 1870 Census. The 1880 Census lists her name as simply “E.” The name Enstina conflicts with the name of son David Wolfe’s (1861-1938) mother as listed on his death certificate: “Sarah Goldstein.” The name of son Isadore Wolfe’s (1869-1935) mother as listed on his death certificate is “uk” or unknown. It seems unlikely that Enstina is David and Isadore’s stepmother, as cemetery records from South Carolina and New York do not reveal a Sarah Goldstein or Sarah Wolfe (accounted for name variations) that died around the time of David’s birth.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

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