Skip to main content

Heilner, Seligmann, 1823-1886

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1823 - 1886

Biographical History

Seligmann Heilner (1823-1886) was a German immigrant to the United States and an entrepreneur.

Seligmann Heilner was born on January 3, 1823. He was a German immigrant and American entrepreneur. Seligmann was born to parents Aron and Magdalene Heilner in Germany. Since Aron and Magdalene were not married through the German government, the birth of Seligmann was not recognized by law. No civil record has ever been found of this birth. Seligmann moved to America in 1845 to fulfill his father's wishes. Seligmann made his way over land to California in 1849 in the midst of the gold rush. Upon crossing over the country, Seligmann stopped in Cincinnati where he acquired a large amount of debt. The situation became so dangerous that Seligmann changed his identity to E.D. Cohen so he would not be followed. That name stuck with Seligmann through all his business ventures. After Seligmann fled from Cincinnati, he moved to Crescent City, California where he worked in partnership with a man named Julius Simonsfeld. Together they ran a small clothier business.

Seligmann was able to assist in the immigration of his younger brother, Sigmund, to California. With Sigmund, Seligmann travelled around the western United States in search of a profitable business. Seligmann found luck but also loss in the gold mining business. In 1872, the brothers built a stone store in Sparta, Oregon. The two brothers sold goods and supplies to miners. The Sparta store was left to Seligmann as Sigmund moved to Baker, Oregon to open another store. On October 31, 1886 two lawyers from Baker got into a fight with Seligmann (E.D. Cohn) over a case that the lawyers were arguing in court. G.C. Israel, the lawyer, became so angry with Seligmann that he shot and killed him, assisted by another lawyer, O.M. Thorndyke. Seligmann's murderers were never charged as the lawyers bribed the judge who was charged with the responsibility to condemn the two lawyers. Sigmund tried for a long time to have the judgment overturned, but could not combat the corrupt system.

Citation:
Sanford Joseph Heilner and Claire Heilner Freedman collection on the Aron Heilner family, approximately 1813-2013, bulk 1850-1920 (Seligmann Heilner; born January 3, 1823; immigrant to US; entrepreneur; emigrated to America in 1845; joined gold rush in California in 1849; became indebted in Ohio and changed identity to E.D. Cohen; moved to Crescent City, California; helped brother Sigmund come to America; Sigmund and Seligmann sold goods and supplies to miners in Baker City, Or.; Seligmann was murdered on October 31, 1886)

San Francisco chronicle, November 2, 1886 (Ed Cohen shot by George C. Israel in Baker City, California after argument over a court case)

Jewish Museum of the American West, via WWW, May 1, 2021 (Sigmund Aron Heilner & Family; Seligmann Heilner, known as Ed. D. Cohen, and brother Sigmund Aron Heiner were pioneer Jewish merchants in Oregon) http://www.jmaw.org/heilner-jewish-oregon/

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Aron Heilner family letters and documents, approximately 1813-2010

 Series
Identifier: MSS 6721 Series 1
Scope and Contents Materials include letters written to brothers Sigmund and Seligmann Heilner, living in America, from the Heilner family who were living in Germany, including their father, Aron. Also includes letters sent between Sigmund and Seligmann, and between them and their spouses and family members in America. Each handwritten letter is either transcribed from English or translated from German (many in Old German script) to English. Also contains photographs, transcribed entries from Sigmund Heilner's...
Dates: approximately 1813-2010

F. Strouse letter to Seligmann Heilner, 1855 March 22

 Item — Box: 1, Folder: 4
Identifier: MSS 6721 Series 1 Sub-Series 2 Item 26
Scope and Contents

Letter from F. Strauss, a friend desires to come to California and asks for Seligmann's advice. Dated March 22, 1855. Includes a transcription of the letter.

Dates: 1855 March 22

Heilner family business letters and documents, 1826-2010

 Series
Identifier: MSS 6721 Series 2
Scope and Contents Materials include letters (many of which are transcriptions with underlined portions that point out the references to business dealings), and documents related to Sigmund and Seligmann Heilner's business dealings in America, such as deeds, checks, receipts, bills of sale, indenture papers, and agreements. Many of these records relate to their department store in Baker City, Oregon. Also contains some materials that add context to the management of the businesses, such as photographs,...
Dates: 1826-2010

Heilner family letters and diaries, 1853-2010

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 6721 Series 1 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents Materials include letters written to brothers Sigmund and Seligmann Heilner, living in America, from the Heilner family, including their father, Aron, who were living in Germany. Also includes letters sent between Sigmund and Seligmann, and between them and their spouses and family members in America. Also contains photographs, ephemera, Sigmund's transcribed diary, and other historical clippings and documents that give context to the subjects and places mentioned in the letters. The family...
Dates: 1853-2010

Sanford Joseph Heilner and Claire Heilner Freedman collection on the Aron Heilner family

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 6721
Scope and Contents Collection contains letters written to brothers Sigmund and Seligmann Heilner, Jewish German immigrants in America, sent from the Heilner family in Germany. Also includes letters sent between Sigmund and Seligmann in America, and between them and their spouses and family members in America. Each handwritten letter is either transcribed from English or translated from German (many in Old German script) to English. Also contains business records, mainly about the Heilner's department store in...
Dates: approximately 1813-2013; Majority of material found within 1850-1920; approximately 1813-2013; Majority of material found within 1850-1920

Sanford Joseph Heilner and Claire Heilner Freedman historical background on Heilner family, approximately 1813-2010

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 6721 Series 1 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents

Materials include photographs, maps, genealogy, and other collected documents and publications, including written historical narrative on Germany and the family of Aron Heilner. Dated from approximately 1813 to 2009.

Dates: approximately 1813-2010

Additional filters:

Type
Archival Record 5
Collection 1
 
Subject
Baker City (Or.) 5
Letters 5
Businessmen 4
Photographs 3
Business records 2