Isidor Bush, Jewish Pioneer: “A Man for all Seasons,” St. Louis, Missouri

Isidor (Busch) Bush

Isidore Bush of St. Louis

Isidore Bush of St. Louis

Value Codes  I-H-E-L-P

“One who will live in our hearts forever . . . unselfish in his devotion to the causes of humanity and his fellow man.”  –Obituary by Samuel Bowman, his closest friend.

Isadore (Busch) Bush was born in 1822 in Prague, then the capital of Bohemia.

His mother died when he was three years old, so he was raised by his father, Jacob Bush, who pampered him.

Isidor never attended school or college, but was educated by private teachers and Jewish scholars.

Jacob Bush moved to Vienna where he went into the printing business. The firm of Von Schmid & Bush became the largest Hebrew publishing house in the world.

Jacob Bush also published and edited a weekly Jewish newspaper that served as the only forum in Austria-Hungry open to a free discussion of Jewish affairs.

When conditions became untenable, Isadore Bush came to New York City in 1849.

Along the way . . .

Isidore Bush opened a small stationary store and began the publication of Israel’s Herald, the first Jewish weekly in America.  – which closed after only 12 issues.

Isadore’s wife’s family invited him to St. Louis in the Fall of 1849.

St. Louis

In St. Louis, Isadore Bush became involved with his brother-in-law, Charles Taussig – in a grocery store.

Isadore Bush’s father, Jacob Bush, arrived from Europe in 1852, and together they established a hardware store.

In 1851, Isidor Bush had acquired 100 acres of land at Bushberg in Jefferson County where he raised grapes.

In 1868, Isidor Bush published the Bushberg Catalogue, a grape manual which was translated into many languages, and still published today.

In 1870, Isador Bush created the firm of Isidor Bush & Co. – a wine and liquor business.

Isidor Bush also engaged in the real estate and banking business.

Isador Bush served as President of the People’s Saving Institution, incorporated in 1857.

He was employed by the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railroad Co. as a general freight and passenger agent.

Isidor Bush was also President of the Mechanics Saving Institution and an actuary for the German Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Community

Isidor Bush was one of the founders of B’nai El Temple.

When the Union’s cause in Missouri looked the bleakest, Isidor Bush would often speak from the pulpit of B’nai El, urging the congregation to stand loyally behind President Lincoln’s government.

Fraternal

While in New York, Isidor Bush became a member of Zion Lodge #2 of B’nai B’rith.

Wher he moved to St. Louis he helped organize Missouri Lodge #22, the first B’nai B’rith Lodge in the Mississippi Valley.

Eight years later he helped found the B’nai B’rith Ebn Ezra Lodge #47, where he remained a member the rest of his life.

Isidor Bush also served a President of his B’nai B’rith District Grand Lodge, as a delegate to the Constitutional Grand Lodge, and as a member of its Executive Committee.

In 1863 he sat on the Board of Commissioners from Grand Lodge #2 to help select a site for B’nai B’rith’s first sponsored orphans home.

Civic

In 1866, Isador Bush was elected as an Alderman for the First Ward of St. Louis.

He served on the Board of Education from 1881 – 1884.

He was active in the Missouri Historical Society and served as Vice-President.

Isidor Bush was Secretary of the State Board of Immigration, and served as President of the German Immigration Aid Society for nearly 12 years.

His most influential position was his membership in the Missouri State Convention, held between 1861 and 1863. He served on as one of 15 Unionists that opposed the secession of Missouri from the Union.

Isidor Bush and his forces were successful in deposing the Governor and Secretary of State, and discharging the State Legislature, all of which desired to leave the Union.

After President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Isidor Bush was on a special committee that filed a report urging immediate freedom for slaves. However, emancipation did not take place in Missouri until 1870.

Family

Isidor Bush married Theresa Taussig in 1844, in Europe.

Together they had one son, Raphael, born in 1845.

Isidor Bush died in 1898.

He is buried with his wife at the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

 

Isidore & Theresa Bush Gravesite

Isidore & Theresa Bush Gravesite

Isidor Bush is considered to be the most prominent Jew in Missouri in the 19th Century.

 

For more information see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Remembering Isidor Bush: Pioneer St. Louis Jewish Community Leader, Publisher, Patriot, by Burton Boxerman, WSJH, Vol. 29 Issue # 3.

We could family pictures.

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