Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Through the Gates of Peace

Found in Louisiana, Missouri
well maintained with complete records

When the sun rose that day, the body of a badly beaten man lay sprawled on the banks of the Mississippi near the small town of Rinfield**, Missouri.  Although the only thing of value that remained was his suit and any thing known was that his face had been battered beyond recognition. Every Rinfield resident knew this man and liked him.

Since the site was by the barge landing, most assumed that some rough men crept in and took Levi, expecting a great fortune. That was enough effort given for finding the guilty.

Levi Rosenfeld (this name was chosen randomly and does not relate to anyone, living or dead in this post)  was an upstanding member of the community, dedicated to helping others, and supporting and caring for any who needed help.  “A good man, God Bless ‘em!”

Levi Rosenfeld was a Jewish man in a small Christian town, and presumed to be wealthy, since he was a jeweler who traveled the Mississippi to St. Louis to trade.  His wife, Grace, was the opposite of her Levi; she was vicious and flaunted her own wealth.  When people spoke her name, they crossed themselves.

The rest of the Jewish community continued quietly to work, pay bills, worship in a distant synagogue some sixty miles away.  That they were Jewish was known by all and accepted.  “Stay in their own place, I’ll give ‘em that."

Levi Rosenfeld was buried in a Jewish Cemetery some distance from town, in a partially hidden copse of oak trees.

It was a quiet closing for a good man.

Is this a true story?  Yes.


Great-aunt Ruth's locket, given to her by her father,
the jeweler.

We have driven by that cemetery for decades, until it became just part of the scenery. It was only as a kinda senior citizen adult that I decided to learn more about it. My mother told me what she had learned from my grandmother. 

Truth is that Ruth's mother, Grace, was a mean spirited woman.
**Imaginary town

46 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing Levi's story. And I really do love the photo. Good name for a final resting place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ] think so. The list of those interred is on the site listed under the photo above. Many buried there were in the 1880s.

      Delete
  2. That's a beautiful locket. It feels like a "novel" idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been meaning to take it to a jeweler and see if the stones are real.

      Delete
  3. Stories of families’ past are so interesting. What a sad story but nice that you could tell the very best of this man - “an upstanding man of his community, dedicated to helping others, and supporting and caring for any who needed help. A good man. It is not how one dies that should be remembered, but how one lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is true. the legacy we leave behind should be what we did when alive.

      Delete
  4. It makes me think of the bible stories and the forever battle for a strip of land that continues today. I was about to say that the male of the species never turns away from aggression, but was it the wife’s flaunting of her possessions that was the cause of the terrible murder...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Replies
    1. I have to admit, writing a dark story is entertaining.

      Delete
  6. Oh my goodness! That was terrible. And his wife wasn't much better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After my Uncle Ted married Ruth, Grace moved in with them. It was not a happy situation.

      Delete
  7. What a touching, although dark, story. It's so interesting that you passed by that cemetery for so many years without knowing this. Love the locket too. Family histories are fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knowing family history is important to me. Helps me see where we came from.

      Delete
  8. I hope they found the peace which eludes so many of us in life.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A sad and dark story. What a wonderful name for a cemetery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since the story is true, it definitely is sad.

      Delete
  10. Ah raw life, the prejudices of time past at times still raise their heads, but less now IMO. But it is a good 'thinking post'. Thanks, some things need to be told...... and told...
    Love from a warm day here in NC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never Forget is engraved in Germany all throughout the country.

      Delete
  11. Old cemeteries can be so interesting. There is something about them. There is so much history and so much to learn about people’s lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so true. There is a site from this where 2 women created records of those buried there.

      Delete
  12. Dark indeed. The history behind many a family isn't always what one wants to share.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The locket and the chain are beautiful. (From the granddaughter of a jeweler.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My aunt gave it to me. She has some of Gr. Aunt Ruth's jewelry.

      Delete
  14. The Gates Of Peace is a wonderful name for a cemetery. Grace may have been like my grandmother. Never a kind word or thought for anyone. She was truly an unhappy woman and sad to be around.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Some people are vicious for no good reason whatsoever. (Well, there's really no good reason to be vicious...)

    ReplyDelete
  16. A sad story. But a beautiful locket. I'm glad you found out more about the cemetery.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Amazing story, Susan! The life and death stories of those who have gone before are so fascinating! Was anyone brought to justice over this terrible crime? The locket is absolutely beautiful! And handmade! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. Being Jewish probably had something to do with that.

      I will take the locket to a jeweler and see what they say.

      Delete
  18. How incredibly sad that Ruth's mother was so mean. I am so glad I was raised by loving grandparents who taught me to be kind to everyone, at least until they hurt me. Then I should cut my losses because real friends stick together through thick and thin. This was an incredible story. I just wish they had found the culprit or culprits who killed this gentle man.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The murderers was near impossible to find. Barges went up and down the Mississippi and stopped near that point. Rough Bargemen had a day to check out the females. Chances are they were the ones and then were off on the barge the next day. At least that is what my grandmother thought.

    ReplyDelete
  20. A good man deserves to be remembered, i'm glad you told his story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And i should have added, no one, and i mean no one, deserves to be killed that way. It's heartbreaking.

      Delete
  21. Dear Susan, this story is poignant and the pain of it as well as the hatred is evident in today's world also.

    I, too, had a grandmother who was mean-spirited. She was, in actuality, a tyrant who dominated her children. They tried to please her--as did I--but she withheld her love to see just how high we'd jump! Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so sorry. What she could have had instead would have changed her life. And yours.

      Delete
  22. this is tragic story dear Susan!

    i felt for this humble kind man of God!
    life is weird sometimes though we can't understand how deeply Nature works and constitute for man

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!