Sigmund Shlesinger

Sigmund Shlesinger

Death 20 Apr 1928 (aged 79)
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Burial Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Plot Section 3, Lot 114
Memorial ID 12304196 · View Source
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Sigmund Schlesinger came to Philadelphia in 1865, a 17 years old émigré from Czechoslovakia, alone, no money but with dreams and hopes. Schlesinger initially found work in Philadelphia but with the Civil over, returning veterans quickly replaced the new immigrants' jobs. The only thing for Sigmund to do was to go west. He found work on the railroad as a common hand. The work ended in Western Kansas not because the railroad was completed but because the Sioux Indians had taken to the warpath to stop the railroad. Laid off again, he volunteered for the only job available. He volunteered, with more chutzpah than brains, as a frontier scout with the U.S. army. Sigmund did not know how to ride a horse or even shoot a gun. He quickly made friends with another scout on the same mission, a tough frontiersman, a young man his age, Jack Peate. Jack taught his quick study friend the art of being a frontier scout. Together they rode history. They rode into the most ferocious Indian battle in frontier history against Chief Roman Nose, the battle of Beecher's Island, Colorado. Years later, Rabbi Henry Cohen of Galveston, Texas inquired about Schelsinger's role. The General in charge wrote back:

My dear Rabbi Cohen:
In answer to your inquiry of December, regarding Mr. Sigmund Schlesinger, who served in my command on the Western frontier in 1867-1868, and who was with me in my fight with the Sioux Indians in the Arickareee Fork, I have a high admiration of the courage and splendid pluck and endurance of young Schlesinger on the occasion mentioned….

He had never been in action prior to our fight with the Indians and throughout the whole engagement which was one of the hardest, if not the very hardest, ever fought on the Western plains, he behaved with great courage, cool persistence and a dogged determination that won my unstinted admiration as well as that of his comrades, many of whom had seen service throughout the War of Rebellion on one side or the other.

I can accord him no higher praise than that he was the equal in many courage, steady and persistent devotion to duty and unswerving and tenacious pluck of any man in my command.

It is a real pleasure to state this fact. I especially mention the pluck and endurance of this young man of Israel and speak of him as a worthy descendant of King David.
I am, sir, with sincere respect,
Very truly yours,
George A. Forsyth
General, U.S. Army

Sigmund had enough of the frontier and Indians. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio, opened a small store, married and quietly raised a family while becoming a pillar of his synagogue and the Jewish community. When Schlesinger was laid to his rest an old grizzled man came from Kansas to stand by his grave. The old man was a friend and fellow Indian fighter from long ago, Jack Peate.
The Jewish Review and Observer
Cleveland, Oho
April 27, 1928
Page 1

Sigmund Shlesinger, War Hero, Philanthropist and Business Man Passes



Sigmund Shlesinger, 2216 Grandview road, beloved husband of Fannie Flesheim Shlesinger and father of Mrs. Max Frankenberger, (Continued on Page 4) Charleston, West Virginia, Mr. Louis Shlesinger of this city and Mr. Albert Shlesinger, Fremont, Ohio, died last Friday Morning at the age of seventy-nine. He was among those early pioneers, who prominently identified with the development of Jewish life.

Mr. Shlesinger who was a prominent pioneer philanthropic worker and a veteran of the Indian warfare of 1868, was born in Hungary, December 29, 1848, and received his education in that country. He landed in New York in 1864 and was apprenticed to a cigar maker. After remaining there a year he went to Leavenworth, Kansas. He remained in the west for three and a half years.

During the outbreak of several Indian tribes against the white inhabitants in that part of the country, Mr. Shlesinger, in September 1868, when a lad of nineteen years old, entered the contest against the red men. He was the youngest in the scout company, and was highly commended for his unusual bravery and military skill by his commander, General Forsyth, who said that the little Jewish boy had remarkable power of endurance, dominated by a noble spirit of bravery, and a keen knowledge of military tactics.

The noble and Self-sacrificing heroism of this undaunted and patriotic youth was manifested in an eminent degree at the Battle of Beecher's Island, Colorado, when fifty white men of the scout troops, surrounded by one thousand Indians, for nine days endured all the cruelties and horrors of Indian warfare. These brave young heroes were rescued by General George A. Forsyth. General Forsyth, who published a book entitled "Frontier Fights in Thrilling Days of Army Life," wrote a poem in that volume commending the bravery and fearlessness of young Shlesinger.

After engaging in several campaigns against the Indians, Mr. Shlesinger went to New York, where he remained until 1870, when he came to Cleveland. He resided here from tht time until his death. When he first came here he embarked in the retail cigar business on Water Street, now West 9th street, and then located at 110 St. Clair avenue, Corner of Seneca, now West 3rd street. Afterwards he went into the wholesale tobacco business.

He retired form active business several years ago. He was among the oldest members of the Temple, having been vice president for three years, and a member of the board for sixteen years, being a member of the religious school committee for that length of time.

Mr. Shlesinger was married to Miss Fannie Flesheim of this city May 28, 1874, by Rabbi G. M. Cohen. Mr. and Mrs. Shlesinger celebrated their golden wedding May 28, 1924. He had been a member of the B'nai B'rith for many years. He was president of Cleveland Lodge No. 16, I.O. B. B. twice, and a member of that lodge for thirty years. He was a delegate to District Grand Lodge No. 2, I. O. B. B. for over a quarter of a century.

He was a member of the Hungarian Aid Society, the H. B. and S. U., a Knight of Pythias for forty years, being one of the first presidents of the lodge.

He was one of the organizers of The Hebrew Free Loan Association, the Education Alliance. And the Federation of Jewish Charities.

Mr. Shlesinger had been a member of the Jewish Relief Society for over thirty-five years and rarely missed a meeting. He held official positions in that organization for thirty-five years. He was financial secretary for twelve years and president for twenty-one years, retiring from the presidency in January 1923, after a long term of creditable, loyal and faithful service. Under the leadership of Mr. Shlesinger the Hebrew Relief Association evolved from the primitive methods of philanthropic endeavors to more modern methods.

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  • Created by: Old History Buff
  • Added: 10 Nov 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 12304196
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sigmund Shlesinger (28 Dec 1848–20 Apr 1928), Find a Grave Memorial no. 12304196, citing Mayfield Cemetery, Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Old History Buff (contributor 46810464) .