Joseph Simon Collection
Joseph Simon (born 1712) was the leader of the Jewish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the 18th century, having arrived there around 1740. By 1747, the community had enough men to support a minyan, and religious services were held at Simon's house. Simon was a successful trader and owned enormous tracts of land in the West, was a business partner of William Henry, a gunsmith, merchant, and, later, important patriot during the American Revolution. In 1767, Thomas Barton, rector of St. James' Church in Lancaster, described Simon to Sir William Johnson as "a worthy, honest Jew and principal merchant of this place...He is esteemed a main fair in his dealings and honest from Principle." Simon had two sons and four daughters, his most famous issue is his granddaughter the famous Rebecca Gratz. Due to his travels around the countryside between Lancaster, Philadelphia, and other remote locations, Simon had traveling and miniature religious items commissioned to conduct services abroad.
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