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Jewish Research and Education - Cuba Family Archives, Finding Aids

Dates:  1851-1970

Creator:  Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery Trustees

Summary/Abstract:  In 1773 Mordecai Sheftall, a leader among the Jews of Savannah, Georgia, established a second burial site specifically for the Jewish community.  Items contain correspondence, financial records, legal documents, and minutes related to the work of the trustees of the Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery, the care of the cemetery and adjacent property, the establishment of the Hebrew Cemetery Trust Fund, the Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund, and the Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Building. 

Quantity/Physical Description:  2 boxes, 2 oversized folders (1.06 cubic feet)

Language(s):  English

Repository:  The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Restrictions on Access:  There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Restrictions on Use:  Copyright restrictions may apply.  Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.  Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation:  Box #, Folder #, Mss 347, Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery Trustees Records, The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Acquisition:  Gift of Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery Trustees, 1999.

Custodial History:  The Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery Trustees Records are part of the Savannah Jewish Archives that were transferred from the Georgia Historical Society to the Breman Museum in 2015.

Separated Material:  2 oversized folders (1.06 cubic feet)

Processed by:  L.M. Spracher (2003), Joyce Kane (2015).

Arrangement:  The records are arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each file.

Biographical/Historical Note:  In 1773 Mordecai Sheftall, a leader among the Jews of Savannah, Georgia, established a second burial site specifically for the Jewish community.  The first public Jewish burial ground, located on the Commons, was allotted to the Jewish community by General James E. Oglethorpe shortly after settlement of the colony.  By the 1760s, this cemetery was full. 

In 1762, Sheftall was granted five acres of land by King George III.  Out of this grant, he conveyed one and half acres of Garden Lot 22 through a Trust Indenture on August 2, 1773.  The indenture placed the property in the hands of a group of trustees who would oversee its care and continued use as a cemetery.  The original trustees were selected by Sheftall and included Philip Minis, Levi Sheftall, Isaac D'Acosta, Joshua Hart, Abraham Hart, Joseph Gomperts, Sampson Simpson, Solomon Simpson, Isaac Har, and Jacob Rivera.  This group represented prominent Jewish community leaders of the time and all were friends of Sheftall's.  The property had already been used as a burial ground since as early as 1769.  The local Jewish congregation built a wall was built to surround the property and general burials continued until the mid1850s. 

By 1871, all of the original trustees were deceased and the cemetery had fallen into disrepair.  After a petition by Congregation Mickve Israel, the Chatham County Superior Court appointed successor trustees.  In 1893, the trustees filed a petition with the Superior Court to empower them to rent, lease or sell any part of the vacant land adjoining the cemetery for the purpose of funding the continued care of the cemetery.  In 1902 they sold land which enabled them to enter into an agreement with Congregation Mickve Israel to complete the first Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Building.

For more information on the Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery and the individuals involved in its establishment and care, as well as those interred within its bounds please see B. H. Levy's Savannah's Old Jewish Community Cemeteries (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1983).

 

Scope and Content: This collection consists of correspondence, financial records, legal documents, and minutes related to the work of the trustees of the Mordecai Sheftall Cemetery.  The items involve the care of the cemetery and adjacent property, and the establishment of the Hebrew Cemetery Trust Fund, the Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund, and the Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Building.  The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject and within each folder the items are arranged chronologically.

 

The financial records of the trustees include receipts which were hand numbered (from #1-65) and kept in a small portfolio.  The receipts were removed from the portfolio and placed in folders; they retain their original numerical order.  Several legal documents have been arranged by their subject including encroachments on the cemetery's property, lease and care of that property, appointment of substitute trustees to replace deceased individuals, and miscellaneous legal documents.  The bound volume of minutes includes several items, including financial papers and correspondence, pasted onto the pages and placed loose between the pages.   All loose items were left in the volume in their original order.

 

Papers regarding the Hebrew Cemetery Trust Fund contain financial records and other legal documents.  The Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund financial records include general papers, distributions of securities, ledger sheets (loose), and purchases and sales.  Also included are correspondence and legal documents pertaining to the trustee's funding of the construction and care of Congregation Mickve Israel's Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Building.

The collection also contains six surveys of the cemetery property dating from the 1851 to 1870.

Collection Inventory

Box

File

Description

Date

 

1

1

Financial – Accounts

1899-1900

 

2

Financial – Hebrew Cemetery Trust Fund, Reports of
Receipts and Disbursements

1932-1961

 

3

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1944

 

4

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1945

 

5

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1946

 

6

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1947

 

7

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1948

 

8

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1949

 

9

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1950

 

10

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1951

 

11

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1952

 

12

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1953, n.d.

 

13

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund

1966-1970

 

14

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund Distribution of Securities

1949-1952

 

15

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund Ledger Sheets (Loose)

1946-1952

 

16

Financial – Mickve Israel Memorial Endowment Fund Purchases and Sales

1944-1953

 

17

Financial – Miscellaneous

1899-1907, n.d.

 

18

Financial – Receipts 1-20

1902

 

 

 

 

2

1

Financial – Receipts 21-40

1902-1903

 

2

Financial – Receipts 41-60

1904-1905

 

3

Financial – Receipts 61-65 and Receipt Holder

1906

 

4

Legal Documents – Encroachments and Correspondence

1870-1906

 

5

Legal Documents – Hebrew Cemetery Trust Fund

1924, 1963

 

6

Legal Documents – Including Establishment of Memorial Endowment Fund

1944-1952

 

7

Legal Documents – Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Building

1903, 1925, 1957

 

8

Legal Documents – Lease of Cemetery Property, 1883, Correspondence – Rental and Care of Cemetery Property, 1905-1952

1883, 1905-1952

 

9

Legal Documents – Substitute Trustees

1893, 1910, 1945, 1962

 

10

Minutes (Bound Volume)

1893-1943

 

11

Mordecai Sheftall Memorial Building – Correspondence

1920-1948

 

12

Preservation of Cemetery

1882, 1902-1958

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