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SECTION III : THE HUNGARIAN COMMUNITIES OF CLEVELAND

I. THE FORMATIVE PERIOD

A.KOSSUTH IN CLEVELAND

       Following the defeat of Hungary's War of Independence in 1848, Louis Kossuth, Governor of the short-lived Republic, fled into exile. The United States government, sympathizing with the cause of Hungary, invited Kossuth to visit the United States in 1851. During the nine-month tour, Cleveland was one of the many American cities Kossuth visited.

       Two Hungarian organizations were established for the purpose of preparing the trip of Louis Kossuth to Cleveland, at a time when barely a handful of Hungarians had settled in the city. The first one, The Hungarian Society of Cleveland, was headed by I.C. Vaugham, editor of The True Democrat, a Cleveland daily. The other was the Ladies Hungarian Society of Cleveland , whose President was Moses C. Younglove. These organizations continued in support of the Hungarian cause for a number of years following Kossuth's visit.

       Moses C. Younglove describes the impact of Kossuth's visit in his "Recollections", dated May 29, 1891:

 

... This was at the time of his visit to Cleveland in the winter of 1852. I was one of a committee of citizens who went to Pittsburgh to invite and escort him to our city. While he was here, he called at my house and I still have the chair in which he sat. I was there living in a house where Plymouth Church now stands. In 1866I saw him in Italy and he well remembered that call which he made at my house. He was the one who introduced the soft hat into our country and they soon became generally worn. His picture on the bill is a correct figure of the one he wore.

 

       (Courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society Library)

       The train bringing Kossuth and his followers to Cleveland left Pittsburgh on January 31, 1852, and made a number of stops in the small Ohio towns of Palestine, Salem, Alliance, Ravena, Hudson, Bedford and

 


 

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Newburgh. Theresa Pulszky and her husband Francis accompanied Kossuth on his tour. This is how Mrs. Pulszky recounts the journey to Cleveland:

 

When we now reached the boundaries of the State of Ohio, we saw that this assertion was true. At every railway station we found thousands assembled, eager to see the apostle of liberty. Deputations were waiting with "material aid" for Hungary, and presented resolutions passed by Town Councils and popular meetings approving the principles he preached. In one place where we stopped for only a few minutes, people, in good earnest, requested Kossuth to climb up on the top of the railway cars, that they might see him better. At Alliance, several deputations were awaiting us.1

 

       In Newburgh, Cleveland's Committee welcomed Kossuth; it included: Mayor Case, General Wilson, Handy Parker, Charles Bradbur and M.C. Younglove. As Kossuth's train pulled into the station at Cleveland, a detachment of the Cleveland and Ohio City Artillery fired a round of cannon, announcing the arrival of the anxiously awaited Governor of Hungary. Kossuth arrived around 11:00 p.m., but the crowds waiting on the streets to catch a glimpse of him did not disperse, despite the lateness of the hour. Cleveland's German citizens welcomed him with a torchlight procession and music, they serenaded Kossuth from the streets outside of the hotel where he stayed, the American House.

       On Sunday, February 1st, Kossuth rested. On February 2nd at 11:00 a.m., he spoke to a vast crowd gathered in front of the American House on Superior Avenue. The street was overflowing with people and all traffic was halted. The windows of the surrounding buildings were full of women waving kerchiefs in applause of Kossuth's oration. In the afternoon, Kossuth spoke at the Cleveland "Melodeon", where the Associations of the Friends of Hungary greeted him. The tickets, costing $3 for general admission and $4 for reserved seats were all sold in advance. (At this

 


 

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The American House Hotel In Cleveland, where Kossuth stayed in 1852 (Cleveland Public Library)

 

The clothing manifacturing company, founded by the Black Brothers in the 1880's (Cleveland Public Library)

 


 

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time, this was a sizable sum of money, considering that the average workman's wages were approximately $1.50 a day.) The high price of admission was willingly paid by hundreds. Kossuth's enthusiastic and fiery orations made many indifferent Americans into avid supporters of the cause of Hungary.

       On February 3rd, private receptions were held in honor of Kossuth at Weddel House. On the following day, early in the morning, Kossuth departed for Columbus, accompanied by several state representatives and senators who had come to Cleveland to welcome Kossuth and to escort him to the State Capitol. Governor Woods headed the Welcoming Committee of Legislators.

       In Columbus, the Senate of the State of Ohio passed the following resolution in support of the cause of Hungary by a vote of 16 to 8:

 

...That the Governor of Ohio be authorized, and is hereby instructed to deliver to Louis Kossuth, the Constitutional Governor of Hungary, on loan, all the public arms and ammunitions of war belonging to the State, which remain undistributed, to be returned in good order upon the achievement of Hungarian Liberty.2

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

 

       Following the visit of Kossuth, a group of Hungarian Jewish families settled in Cleveland. The Black family, Deutsch brothers and Soma Schweiger became Cleveland's first Hungarian businessmen. These families paved the way for the less advantaged Hungarian immigrants who were to follow.

       Morris Black and his brother David went into the garment business and founded the Black Cloak Co. Morris Black had two sons, Joseph and Louis. In 1888, Joseph was appointed American consul to Hungary by

 


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