Mississippi: Natchez Jewish history at conference

Most of the world’s Jews might not recognize Natchez, Mississippi as a hotbed of Judaic activity, but the eighth biennial Historic Natchez Conference is including this topic on its program.

And, in November, the 10th Angels on the Bluff Cemetery Tour takes place, in which historic characters come to life. This year, one of them will be Clara Lowenburg Moses (see below for more).

On Thursday, October 8, the conference begins at the Eola Hotel and among the sessions are will look at post-Civil War Natchez merchants, yellow fever epidemics, and a session on the Southern Jewish experience (3pm, Temple B’nai Israel). Photo above right is the synagogue in 1872.

The Institute on Southern Jewish Life has an excellent history of Natchez Jewish community, click here.

When the US took over the Natchez territory in the late 1790s, peddler Henry Jacobs got full American citizenship, a first for the Jews of the area.

Some early Jewish families in the town were MONSANTO, ABRAMS, BUCKHOLTZ/BUCKELS, LEHMAN, HARRIS, BEEKMAN, TILLMAN, DAVID, BLOOM, ADLER, BENJAMIN, FRANK, LOWENBERG, GEISENBERGER, LEMLE, ROOS and MOSES.

Friday sessions cover archeology, Natchez Indians, the Black experience, slavery, the Civil War, church history, Natchez women during the war and more.

On Saturday, there will be a genealogy workshop with Teri Tillman at the Armstrong Library at 2 pm.

See the Natchez Democrat article for more details on the conference.

For more on the Angels on the Bluff Cemetery Tour, click here.

The tour is set for 5-8pm, Friday and Saturday, November 6-7, at the Natchez City Cemetery; tickets are $15.

An event organizer said that people enjoy history when it comes alive to them. “And that is what our actors do. They don’t just stand and recite a bunch of facts. They bring these people to life.”

Funds raised benefit preservation projects of the cemetery association. This year’s Jewish character (of the six characters to “come to life” this year) is high on the cemetery’s Jewish Hill. For the index to individuals buried in the city’s Jewish cemetery, established in 1843, click here.

Clara Lowenburg Moses was born into a prominent Natchez Jewish family. While privileged, she also experienced tragedy.

According to event publicity organizer Teri Tillman, Moses was a wonderful story teller and wrote down stories to be passed through her family. “Anytime I want to study anything about the Jewish history of our city, I can look to those stories,” she added.

The other characters are Louis Winston, Isaac Hathaway, the Rev. Joseph “Buck” Stratton, Hunter Course, T. Otis Baker and S. Quinn Booth.

See more about these individuals at the second newspaper article link above.

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