Benjamin William “Ben” Sangor was born in Kiev, Russia, on February 5, 1889. Sangor’s full name and birth information were on his World War I draft card. The U.S. Naturalization Record Index, at Ancestry.com, said Sangor arrived in America on February 25, 1904. At this time it is not known who accompanied him. Sangor’s draft card said his dependents included his mother, so she may have emigrated with him.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, there are two women who were born in Russia and lived in Milwaukee. Sarah Sangor, 60 and a widow, was in the household of Harry Podolsky, her 35-year-old, Russian-born son-in-law, who was married to Rosa, also 35. The couple had two children, one born in New York and the other in Wisconsin. Rosa emigrated in 1904 which was the same year as Sangor’s arrival. Maybe Rosa and Sangor were siblings and traveled together in 1904; she would have been about 29 years old and Sangor around 15. There was no emigration date for Sarah.
Sangor has not yet been found in the 1910 census. His education was reported in Joe Mitchell Chapple’s “Heart Throbs” column which was printed in the Buffalo Evening News (New York), December 20, 1928.
…Benjamin Sangor was an emigrant boy who in 23 years after landing at Ellis Island has become one of the largest real estate operators in the country. He attended night school at Milwaukee, and after graduating at the North Division School, attended the University of Wisconsin, working nights as a waiter or anything he could do to support himself, and finally graduated from the Marquette Law school.The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, at Ancestry.com, said Sangor married Sophia B. Kitz on August 20, 1912, in Chicago, Illinois. However, eight months later, the Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin), April 19, 1913, printed this announcement:
Naturalization Clerk Going to Be Married to Chicago Girl, Sunday.The 1913 Milwaukee city directory listed Sangor as deputy clerk at the Court House and his residence at 871 40th.
Naturalization Clerk Benjamin Sangor got things all mixed up Saturday, but his boss, Clerk of Courts Charles Maas, forgave him. There’s a reason. Ben is going to be married Sunday. The lucky girl is Miss Sophie B. Kitz, 1480 Farragut-av, Chicago. The ceremony will take place there.
On September 18, 1914, Sangor became a naturalized citizen. His address was 757 Frederick Avenue in Milwaukee.
Sangor became a lawyer and was named in the article, “Moha Challenges Validity of Law”, which was published by the Milwaukee Sentinel (Wisconsin), January 23, 1915.
Sangor signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. The card said he was a lawyer and lived at 757 Frederick Avenue in Milwaukee. Sangor’s mother, wife and child were his dependents. The description of him was medium height and stout build with gray eyes and brown hair.
According to the Cook County, Illinois Death Index, Sangor’s wife, Sophie, passed away March 27, 1918, in Chicago. She was buried at Ridge Lawn Beth El Cemetery. Her death certificate said she was born n Baraga, Michigan, on November 16, 1893, but the 1900 census and her gravestone have the birth year 1892. The cause of death was not stated.
Sangor was in the lawyers listings of the 1918 Milwaukee city directory. His address was 114 Grand Avenue. Sangor’s involvement in the Kroeger Brothers Company case was chronicled in the following newspapers.
The Milwaukee Journal, November 5, 1918: “‘Rummy or Liar,’ Says Court”
The Milwaukee Journal, November 9, 1918: “Ready to Talk Now, He Says”
The Evening Sentinel, November 16, 1918: “Judge Geiger Tells Herzog He Falsifies”
The Evening Sentinel, November 18, 1918: “Court Declares Kroeger Bros. Co. Bankrupt”
The Milwaukee Journal, November 19, 1918: “Kroeger Witness May See His Son”
The Milwaukee Journal, November 20, 1918: “Rubin Explains Kroeger Deal”
The Milwaukee Sentinel, November 21, 1918: “Rubin Undergoes Long Examination”
The Milwaukee Journal, November 30, 1918: “Evidence Untrue, Says Court”
The Milwaukee Sentinel, January 22, 1919: “Contempt Charge Against Lawyers”
The Milwaukee Journal, February 24, 1919: “Rubin Denies He Sought Secrecy”
The 1919 Milwaukee city directory had this listing: “Sangor Benj 835 Caswell blk”.
The 1920 census recorded Sangor as a resident of Chicago at 4518 Prairie Avenue. He was single and a general practice lawyer. His Wisconsin-born, seven-year-old daughter, “Jacqueline”, was enrolled at the Chicago St. Xavier Academy.
In Funnybooks (2014), Michael Barrier wrote:
By 1922, B.W. Sangor was listed in a legal directory as a Chicago attorney and was advertising real-estate auctions in the Chicago Tribune. Sangor moved to New York by the mid-1920s…Sangor has not yet been found in the 1925 New York state census, which said his daughter, “Jacqulyn”, attended Highland Manor School in Tarrytown, Westchester County.
Sangor’s real estate business, B.W. Sangor & Co., used a New York City address, “1,459 Broadway (42d St.)”, in a New York Times classified advertisement dated May 14, 1925 (below).
Sangor also advertised in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1926) and Philadelphia Inquirer (1927).
June 22, 1926
November 29, 1927
Sangor traveled to Europe in 1928. Aboard the S.S. Berengaria, he departed Southampton, England, on July 7, and arrived in New York, July 13. His address was 1457 Broadway, New York, New York.
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (New York), December 24, 1928, published a longer version of Chapple’s “Heart Throbs” column on Sangor.
In two sharply-contrasted environments, both of which he calls home, Benjamin W. Sanger, one of the largest realty operators in the country, eminent in community building, gave me his heart throb. In the brilliant and almost blinding glare of Broadway, shining in on his apartment at the Astor Hotel, New York, he began repeating the enchanting verses from Longfellow’s “Evangeline”…
…That was the story of a tragic Arcady, but it brought to mind another and a happier one—at Pinewald, New Jersey, “where the pine forests meet the sea,” and where a new day play city is in the making, as Mr. Sangor said:
“This is my city home, but I want you to come with me to my real home in the pine woods on the Jersey Shore a few hours away, and you will understand why I am so intense in my love of Longfellow’s lines. When I first began to read English, Longfellow seemed to be the poet who took me by the hand and welcomed me to the rich storehouse of American literature.”
Three hours after I found myself with him at his home, called “Cedar Crest,” among the whispering pines and sands of the Jersey shore. Pointing to the west, called attention to a beautiful sunset, he continued:
“There is a picture that hangs on the wall of heaven painted by the great Creator that to me surpasses all the thrills that I can ever hope to have in any art gallery. The quiet of these woods and the close contact to nature will perhaps explain to you why my favorite poem is ‘Evangeline.’”According to the 1930 census, Sangor was married and involved in real estate. His wife was not listed. He resided on Pinewald in Bayville Village, Berkeley Township, Ocean County, New Jersey. Pinewald was Sangor’s failed real estate project.
At some point, Jacquelyn Sangor returned to Illinois where she was a student at the New Trier High School in Winnekta. She was a senior in 1931.
The Echoes, 1931 yearbook
After the census enumeration, Sangor traveled by ship to Mexico. He departed Vera Cruz, Mexico, on June 5, 1940, and arrived, six days later, in New York.
Sangor signed his World War II draft card in 1942. His address was 205 West 54th Street in Manhattan. He was employed at Cinema Comics, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, New York. He named his daughter, “Jacqulyn Pines”, who resided at 965 5th Avenue, New York City, as his nearest relative. On the back of the card was his description: five feet six inches, 175 pounds with gray eyes and hair.
The Brooklyn Eagle, January 16, 1948, published a legal noticed which named Sangor in a complaint.
Sangor—Benjamin W., on Monday, Jan. 26, 1953, at Miami Beach, Fla., dear husband of Frances Unger Sangor, beloved father of Jacquelyn Pines, loving grandfather of Susan and Judy Pines. Service at Frank E. Campbell, Madison Ave. at 81st St., New York City, Thursday, 12 noon.Under the year 1953, DC’s “Other” Comics said: “Ben Sangor dies. Frances Sangor, his widow, is listed as co-owner for the next year.” There was a widow, Frances Sangor, who died at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, on April 1, 1964. She was born in 1896.
The Wikipedia profile of Sangor said: “…On October 1, 1925, a Benjamin Sangor married Etta Weidenfeld at the Hotel Martinique in Manhattan, New York City, though it is unclear if this is the same Sangor…” Wikipedia misspelled the name and had the date wrong. Below is the announcement in the New York Times, October 25, 1925.
Sanger–Weidenfeld—Mr. Joseph Weidenfeld announces the marriage of his daughter, Etta, to Mr. Benjamin Sanger at the Hotel Martinique Oct. 18, 1925.The 1930 census recorded the couple in the Bronx. New York-born Sanger owned and operated an importing company.
(Updated 10:07 am, January 26, 2015; next post on Monday: Ned L. Pines)