Early Jewish Pioneers of Chickasha, Oklahoma

Jewish Pioneers of Chickasha, Oklahoma


In 1902, Benjamin Lubman, from Russia via Kansas City, opened a jewelry store, and also sold eyeglasses and men’s furnishings in Chickasha.

Herman Kohn opened a dry goods in store in 1906.

Abraham Belk and hid wife, Sadie, opened a junk business before statehood was declared (1907).

Chickasha OK, Vintage Postcard before Automobiles

Sometime before 1910, Leopold Wohlgemuth, from Germany via Illinois, opened the The People’s Store, selling dry goods. His son-in-law, Louis Erlich, co-owned the store. Louis Erlich and his wife, Florence, lived with Wohlgemuth. Louis was Secretary-Treasurer of Congregation B’nai Abraham. Both families had moved on by 1930.


Charles I. Miller and Ben Levine (cousins) owned the Dixie Store in 1919. Their store was one of six family-owned Dixie Stores in Southwest Oklahoma. It remained family-run until 1994, when it closed. The store is now the home of the Grady County Historical Museum.

Site of Matthew & Levine's Dixie Store, now a museum

Site of Miller & Levine’s Dixie Store, now a museum

Aaron Slutzky left Poland and arrived in the United States in 1920. He studied Pharmacology, and owned a pharmacy in Chickasha for 35 years. He remained active in Chickasha’s Jewish life long after the synagogue was gone. The high point of Jewish population was 1919, with 125 Jews.

Chickasha Main Street, 1920's, Vintage Post Card

Chickasha Main Street, 1920’s, vintage postcard

Jewish Religious Life

Congregation B’nai Abraham was formed in 1915. Services were in Hebrew for the Congregation of 25, which met in the  Masonic Temple.

L. Gaspar was President, and Samuel Goldsmith, a local dry goods merchant, led the services.

Congregation B’nai Abraham was gone by the mid-1920’s.

Since then, the observant Jewish community has relocated 40 miles away to Oklahoma City.



The Southwest Oklahoma Lodge of B’nai B’rith was founded by Chickasha men, and included men from Anadarko and Lawton.



  • Henry J. Tobias, The Jews of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

Regina Merwin is the curator for this Chickasha, Oklahoma exhibit.