Moritz Pinner (1828-1911)

(The Eldest Brother of the Father of the Mother of the Mother of Doron Zeilberger =the Eldest Brother of the mother of the father of the mother of DZ, since DZ's maternal grandparents were first cousins.)

Written by: Doron Zeilberger.

First written: Feb. 7, 1999.

Added Oct. 6, 2013: Karola NICK's amazing book transcring, with insightful comments, and (with professional advice by historian Michael Lenarz, and English summaries by Sister Dr. Katherine Wolff), just came out! Highly recommeded.

Moritz Pinner (see his portrait in 1901, kindly given to me by my aunt Brigitte Weiss) was born (as Moses Pinner) in Birnbaum, the district of Posen in Prussia, (now Miedzychod, Poznan, Poland), on March 9, 1828. The eldest son of Rabbi Levin Aron Pinner and Wilhelmine Goldbarth Pinner.

When he was 24 years old, he boarded the ship ANNA, leaving Bremen, Germany, and arriving at Baltimore, on Sept. 20, 1851, and listed his occupation as Merchant (source: Germans to America (I.A. Glazier and P.W. Filby, eds.), v. 2, p. 95). Family Tree CD #355 contains the following information. Age: 24; Gender: Male; Occupation: Merchant; Last Residence: Birnbaum in Prussia; Final destination: Baltimore; Purpose of Travel: Staying in the USA; Manifest ID Number: 00025018; Port of Embarkation: Bremen; Model of Travel: Cabin;

Sooner or later he made it to St. Louis, and Kansas City, Missouri. Here is the entry about him from Encyclopedia Judaica.

-----begin entry from Ency. Judaica--------

PINNER, Moritz (1828-ca.1909). US antislavery activist in the Civil War period. Pinner was born in Prussia. He was one of a handful of immigrant Jews who played a significant role in the Republican Party and in the propaganda efforts against slavery which helped to bring the Civil War. He participated in abolitionists activities in Missouri, as early as 1856, served as editor of Republican antislavery papers in St. Louis and Kansas City, and was a member of state and national Republican conventions in 1860. Said to have been offered a diplomatic post by Lincoln, Pinner preferred military service, although the reports of his commissioned service are confused.
Bibliography: Kohler in: AJHSP (American Jewish Historical Society Publications), 5 (1897), 152-3; Markens, ibid., 17, (1909), 139-141.

-----end entry from Ency. Judaica--------

For more details about Moritz Pinner's anti-slavery activities, read the parts referenced above, from Max Kohler's article about Jews in the Anti-Slavery Movement , and Markens' article about Lincoln and the Jews.

Moritz Pinner is mentioned in the book `The Jews in America', by Learse, 1972. Ktav:

``Another prominent Jewish abolitionist was Moritz Pinner, who had migrated from Germany, and in 1859, when he was about thirty, edited a German-language abolitionist paper in `Bleeding Kansas', ... . Pinner was a delegate from Missouri to the 1860 convention of the Republican party in Chicago, which nominated Lincoln. He was the uncompromising brand of abolitionism. When the war broke out, he declined an offer of a diplomatic post and enlisted in the army. A fellow delegate of Pinner's in Chicago, ... was Lewis Naphtali Demblitz..., who was the pride of his family and especially of his little nephew Louis Brandeis.''

He is also mentioned in the book `Jews in American History' by Golden (pp. 151-152):

Three Jews were delegates to the 1860 Republican Convention which nominated in Lincoln-Lewis N. Demblitz, Abraham Kohn, and Moritz Pinner.


Moritz Pinner founded and edited the Kansas Post in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1859, as an abolitionist paper. He was a delegate to the Missouri State Convention and to the Republican State Convention in 1860. He was appointed by General Kearny, Brigade Quartermaster on his staff during the Civil War. After the war he settled in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Abraham Lincoln's endorsement of the appointment of Moritz Pinner to Brigade Quarter Master in General Kearney's staff is mentioned in `The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln', supplement volume 1852- 1865, Roy P. Basler, editor, Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn. However it was not addressed to Stanton but to Simon Cameron, who preceded Stanton as Secretary of War. Here it is.

--excerpt from p. 95 of supplement v. of A. Lincoln's collected works----

                       To Simon Cameron(1)
   Let Gen. Kearney be obliged, if it can be done consistently.
September 3, 1861                                 A. Lincoln

  (1) Parke-Bernet Catalogue, February 11, 1964, No. 122.
Described in the source as ``on integral covering leaf of A.L.S.
by Gen. Philip Kearney... asking that a former Prussian officer,
Capt. Moritz Pinner, be appointed Quarter Master of his staff''.
Pinner is listed by Heitman as appointed September 10, 1861.

Added April 3, 2013: This letter is one of the items in the Lincoln papers of the Manuscript division of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

-----end excerpt from Lincoln's collected works----

The above is confirmed by the following entry from: "Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army" by Francis R. Heitman, v. 1, 1903 (Washington, Goverment Printing Office):

----entry from Heitman, v.1, p. 793----

Pinner, Moritz. Prussia, N Y. Capt a q m vols 10 Sept 1861; resd 15 Aug 1862.

----end entry from Heitman, v.1, p. 793----

After his resignation from Kearney's staff Moritz tried to join the staff of the great abolitionist and politician Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903), who has returned in 1862 from his position as Ambassador to Russia to fight in the Civil War, as Major General. Pinner's friend, the great abolitionist and orator, Wendell Phillips(1811-1884) wrote to Clay, on behalf of Pinner, a glowing letter of recommendation , claiming that Pinner was the "best Quartermaster in the Army" and "a jewel".

Even though the position of Quartermaster in Clay's brigade did not materlize, Clay and Pinner must have been on friendly terms, since he sent him, in Oct. 9, 1862, an Invitation to the Opera (here is a facsimile of the original ).

Moritz Pinner's role in the Missouri Republican State convention, March 10, 1860, was covered extensively in an article in the Daily Missouri Republican from March 11, 1860 .

Moritz Pinner's role in the Missouri Republican State convention, March 10, 1860 is also mentioned on p. 60 of Reinhard Luthin's book ``The First Lincoln Campaign'' (Harvard Univ. Press, 1944). After describing how the chairman of the Missouri Republican committee B. Gratz Brown wanted the Missouri delegates for the Chicago National Convention (that was to choose Lincoln) to vote, as a block, in favor of his candidate Edward Bates, Luthin writes: ``At once the Germans opposed the endorsement of Bates for President. Moritz Pinner, Jewish editor of a Kansas City German-language paper, and Carl Daenzer were on their feet. Confusion followed. Pinner offered the resolution: `Resolved, that the delegates of the Republican party of Missouri have no preferred candidate for the President of the United States, and that our delegates to Chaicago shall not cast their votes for any candidate who does not stand failry and square upon the Philadelphia [National Republican] platform of 1856.' This, of course, would eliminate Bates. Cries of `Dry up!' `Simmer down!' and `Switch off!' were hurled at Pinner amid the stamping of feet and the banging of the Chairman's gavel. Pinner's efforts were fruitless, and the resolution endorsing Bates was approved. ...''

And indeed, because Pinner refused to vote for Bates, and the Missouri delagation voted to vote unanimously for Bates, Pinner was forced, reluctantly, to resign from the Missouri delegation. He was replaced by Dr. Johan Bernard Bruns (see Anzeiger des Westens, 17 May 1860, translated in p. 107 of "German for a Free Missouri-Translations from the St. Louis Radical Press, 1857-1862, Selected and Translated by Steven Rowan, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1983.)

After his resignation from the army, Moritz Pinner worked very hard on an invention, that he patented, that was meant to save many lives. He called it "Pinner's Ambulance-Kitchen". It is US patent No. 37,518 dated Jan. 27, 1863. The witnesses are B.S. Hedrick and John S. Hollingshead. In order to promote his invention, Moritz Pinner compiled a pamphlet summarizing the official reports, endorsed by N.Y. Governor, Horatio Seymour, Major General A.E. Burnside, and other notables. It also included very favoarble "Opinions of the Press", including newspaper clippings of the N.Y. Times dated April 25, 1863. On the cover it says: ``To lessen the sufferings of the wounded on the battle-field, I have invented this Travelling Kitchen. May others prove as diligent in its use as I have endeavored to be in its construction.''--M. Pinenr, New York City, May, 1863.
This 8-page pamphlet is available from the Archives of the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle, PA. As far as I know, the invention was never implemented.

Moritz Pinner wrote many letters to his friend Wendell Phillips (mentioned above), including 10 Letters from Moritz Pinner to Wendell Phillips whose originals form part of the Blagden collection of Wendell Phillips's letters, that can be found at the Houghton Library of Harvard University.

After the Civil War he moved to the New York area. On Jan. 15, 1866 he publised a very long letter to editor of the New York Times, European Emigration: A New Scheme for its Encouragement .

Around 1870, Moritz Pinner married Melissa Rogers (Ballston Spa, NY, 1846-Ballston Spa,NY, ca. Dec. 30, 1922). Melissa is the great-grandaughter of Lieut. James Prentice (1746-1837) who serverd in Capt. March Chase's company, Worcester County Militia, during the American Revolutionary War. Her lineage is as follows: James Prentice->Nahum Prentice-> Caroline Mathilda (b. Prentice) Rogers->Mellisa. (Source: Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books (152 volumes), vol. 110, p. 98.

Moritz Pinner and Melissa Pinner winded up living in Elizabeth, NJ, but Moritz had a real estate business in New York City. Hence he is listed in the New York City Directory, 1890:

Pinner Moritz, real estate, 71 B'way

Moritz Pinner must have kept in touch with the many friends he made during his anti-slavery activities. One of them was Benjamin S. Hedrick, a former Chemistry professor at the Univ. of North Carolina, who was fired in 1856 from his position beacause of his strong anti-slavery views. Benjamin Hedrick joined the US Patent office in 1861, and stayed there until his death 25 years later. Pinner must have used this connection for his business ventures, as the Three Letters from Moritz Pinner to Bejamin S. Hedrick testify.

Another correspondent was the the labor activist, Henry Demarest Lloyd, who sent Moritz Pinner a letter dated Dec. 17, 1897

Unfortunately, in 1878 he must have had some hard times. The New York Times for Sat., Aug. 31, 1878, page 3, column 3, has the following about him:

------excerpt from New York Times 8/31/1878, 3-3---------

A voluntary petition in bankrupcy has been filed by Moritz Pinner, to get rid of real estate liabilities to the amount of $174,737, having no assets.Among he secured creditors are the Knickerbocker Life Insurance Company, $80,000; Julia Foster, $2,000; James Edwards, $5,000; Elizabeth Forbes, $5,500; Union National Bank of Rahway, $10,000; Charles Huleck, $9,000; Mutual Life Insurance Company, $9,500; Elisha B. Robbins, $10,500.

------end excerpt from NYT 8/31/1878, 3-3-----------------

Moritz Pinner amd Melissa had two children.

According to the above-mentioned article, whose origin I don't know (it was sent by Moritz Pinner to his younger brother Adolf Pinner (my great-grandfather), and communicated to me by Karola Nick, who is currently (winter of 2010) transcribing the Moritz-Adolf Pinner voluminous correspondence, as part of a project commissioned by the Jewish museum of Frankfurt am Main), both brothers graduated from the Dr. Pingry's school, passed the state examinations, and were offered scholarships to Rutgers college, that they declined, in order to study Electrical Engineering at New York University.

The Elizabeth, NJ, city directory for 1897 has the following listings:

Pinner Moritz, lumber, 171 Bway, N Y, h 1036 Sherman av
Pinner Rogers A, telephone, 171 Bway, N Y, h 1036 Sherman av

The Elizabeth, NJ, city directory for 1900 has the following listings:

Pinner Moritz, h 1036 Sherman av; 141 Bway, NY
Pinner Rogers A, elect eng,h 1036 Sherman av; 141 Bway, NY
By 1909, Moritz Pinner, now 81 years-old, is apparently retired, since he only has a home address, and Rogers is no longer there.

The Elizabeth, NJ, city directory for 1909 has the following listings:

Pinner Moritz, h 1036 Sherman av
The last time he is listed in the Elizabeth, NJ, city directory was 1913:
Pinner Moritz, h 1036 Sherman av
Moritz Pinner died on July 30, 1911, at 11:50 pm (according to the death certificate, that was filled by his son, Rogers A. Pinner, who at that time lived in Bloomfield, NJ). He was buried in Ballston Spa, NY, where his in-laws lived.

Moritz and Melissa's house, on 1036 Sherman Av., Elizabeth, NJ, does not exist anymore. It was a 532x150 feet lot (almost two acres). Today (2000) part of it is occupied by Nelson Paper Converting Inc., 1050 Sherman Ave., and another part by small row houses.

On Sept. 15, 1920, Moritz's widow, Melissa Pinner sold this property to the Willys Corporation. By then she already lived in 28 Verandah Place, Brooklyn, NY, and also with her sister, Miss Emily Rogers, at 138 Maple Ave., Ballston Spa, NY. She is listed in the Ballston Spa Directory for 1915 through 1922 as follows:

Pinner Melissa R., wid. Capt Moritz, bds 138 Maple av
On July 12, 1920, she sold her 28 Verandah Place, Brooklyn townhouse to her sister-in-law, Effie Leger Pinner.

Melissa died on Jan. 3, 1923, and was buried next to her husband Moritz, (see their graves, 1827 should be 1828) and her son Moritz L. Pinner (1873-1895)C (see his grave). On July 26, 1960, her other son, Rogers Pinner was buried (see his grave) at the same lot: Ballston Spa Cemetery, Section E, lot 21. Also buried at the adjacent lot ( Section E, lot 22, of Ballston Spa Cemetery) are Melissa's father, Elam Rogers (1802-Aug 7, 1887, grave A) (see his grave) , Melissa's mother (Caroline Matilda Prentice Rogers, 1807-March 14, 1887, grave B), (see her grave) Melissa's sister, Miss Emily Rogers (Oct. 20, 1841-April 20, 1924, grave D), Melissa's brother, Ethan Rogers (died April 2, 1915, grave I), and Melissa's sister-in-law (Ethan's wife), Martha Rogers (died March 25, 1915). Ethan Rogers was superintendant at the American Axe & Tool Co., and lived at 19 E. High St., Ballston Spa, NY. Also buried there is Amelia Rogers Stebbins, (1840-1909), Melissa's sister, wife of T.W.Stebbins, and another brother, Eddie.

Moritz Pinner's father was Rabbi Levin Aron Pinner

His surviving son is: Rogers A. Pinner,

Acknowledgement: I wish to thank Nat Reiss, Genealogy director of the Jewish Historical Society of Central New Jersey, for some very useful tips on conducting family research. In particular, he told me about the National Archives, where I found the information about Moritz's immigration. I also like to thank the staff of AJHS, and especially Michelle Sampson for sending me a copy of Markens's article.

Added May 21, 1999: I wish to also thank Rebecca Preece, Genealogy librarian of the New Jersey State Library, at Trenton, NJ, for very helpful and friendly guidance in using the library resources.

Added June 30, 1999: Another fascinating Posen Jew who served in the Civil War, and who was born in Bombst (where Moritz's father was naturalized a German citizen in 1834, and hence must have known him) and who also overlapped with him in St. Louis in the 1850s, was Samuel Berwin.

Added May 13, 2001: I wish to thank April Dreher, registrar of the Town of Milton, Saratoga County, NY, for her kind assistance in retrieving the death certificates of Emily Rogers, and of Elam and Caroline Rogers.

Added Dec. 31, 2001: I wish to thank my aunt Brigitte Weiss (b, 1913) for Moritz's portrait.

Added Jan. 12, 2002: Many thanks to Leanne Garland for her kind help in sending me a copy of Moritz Pinner's Letter to Cassius Marcellus Clay

Last Update: April 3, 2013: putting a link to the catalog entry of the Kearny-Lincoln correspondence about Pinner.

Previous updates: June 19, 2011: adding links to the Pinner graves (thanks to Gil Zeilberger). Feb. 21, 2010 (thanks to Karola Nick!). Putting a link to L. Moritz Pinner(1873-1895)'s death notice and article about it, and adding information revealed by it.

May 21, 1999; Jan. 2, 2000; May 7, 2000; June 10, 2000; June 18, 2000, Oct. 31, 2000, March 18, 2001, May 13, 2001, Dec. 31, 2001, January 12, 2002 (thanks to Leanne Garland). Feb. 20, 2002 (thanks to USMHI) , March 22, 2002 (thanks to the Library of Congress), April 7, 2002. (Thanks to Leanne Garland). Sept. 3, 2002 (adding the letters to Benjamin S. Hedrick, acquired in eBay). Feb. 24, 2003: Putting a link to the Daily Missouri Republican article from March 11, 1860 about the Republican party Missouri State Convention; Nov. 26, 2003: Putting a link to 10 Letters from Moritz Pinner to Wendell Phillips. Aug. 14, 2006. Putting a link to Dec. 17, 1897 Letter from Henry Demarest Lloyd to Moritz Pinner [from the H.D. Lloyd papers at the Library of Congress]

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