Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Workday Wednesday ~ Assemblyman David Litwin

In my husband's family, one family story holds that "some cousin" in "North Jersey" was a state politician, but my mother-in-law could only remember that it was a cousin of her mother's. In speaking with my mother-in-law while researching the Levitt family, (see Another Interview Strategy for how this is a great way to interview relatives), she remembered that "Tanta Sophie" was how she remembered the sister of her grandfather, Max Levitt. She remembered Sophie's married name as Letwin, and in searching on ancestry.com for Sophie Letwin, I found the Litwin family in Newark.

Sophie Levitt married Samuel Litwin around 1894. All census records indicate that she was born about 1874 in Austria. (This is one line I still need to work on to figure out exactly where they came from.) Samuel was from Russia and according to U.S. census records in Newark, was in Real Estate, then Insurance. My mother-in-law remembers when he died in 1935. Sophie survived him, but we don't know when or where she died; it could be New Jersey or it could be Florida.

Samuel and Sophie had three children:
David Milton Litwin (b. May 30, 1896 in Newark; d. Dec 1972)
Moses A. Litwin (b. 1907, New Jersey)
Jeanette Litwin (b. June 2, 1910, Newark)

David M. Litwin was a lawyer by profession and was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the New Jersey legislature in 1927. At that time, the General Assembly had 60 members, elected annually and apportioned to the then-nineteen counties by population.

The Jewish Chronicle on GenealogyBank has many news stories about David Litwin's career as an Assemblyman (as well as "social" notes) and is the source for the following stories.

Jewish Chronicle, May 29, 1925
Social notes indicate that he and his family, as well as his parents (my mother-in-law's Aunt Sophie and Uncle Samuel) spent a number of summers in Bradley Beach. One such note is at the right:


The following story gives a sense of what Rep. Litwin's first year in the legislature was like.

Jewish Chronicle, April 13, 1928

Jewish Chronicle, November 7, 1930
At the start of his second term, he "was appointed to several important committees. These include the committee of corporations, of which he is chairman; highways, which will supervise the new traffic laws, public grounds and buildings, and the joint committee with the Senate on printing." (January 11, 1929)

When he was on the ballot in November 1929, he was the "First Jew Nominated Three Times in Succession for Seat" on the Republican Assembly ticket. This article notes that he "has been a lawyer since 1917, when he was admitted at the age of twenty-one after waiting a year following his graduation from New York University. Before 1927 he was not in politics."

At the start of his third term, he was chairman of the corporations committee and a member of the highways and municipal corporations committees. (January 24, 1930)

In November 1930, he was elected to the General Assembly for the fourth time. See a portion of this article at right. (November 7, 1930)

"David M. Litwin, who had served four straight terms in the Assembly, went down to defeat in the Democratic landslide." (November 6, 1931)

After his four years in the Assembly, he continued in the public eye, involved in civic and Jewish causes. The Jewish Chronicle on GenealogyBank only goes up to 1943, and I have been unable to find an obituary for him. He died in December 1972.

His mother, Sophie, was sister to Rose (Levitt) Goldstein's father, Max Levitt, making David first cousin to Rose and first cousin twice removed to my husband.

Workday Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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