Aaron Klein (1844-1923) and his wife Rosa Scheyer (1858-1941) were both born in Berlin, Germany. Aaron probably came to the US in 1862 at age 18 on the Prince Albert, which departed from Hamburg and arrived in New York, although conflicting census records list various arrival dates for him, from 1874 to 1878. Granddaughter Lois Stein writes in a 1987 journal entry that Aaron Klein
came from Berlin Germany to Canada to avoid military service. On a visit to visit friends in Cincinnati, Ohio, he met my grandmother – Rosa Schayer. After they were married they moved to Chicago where he had relatives. Thru them he worked as a salesman for Fleischmen Yeast.
Rosa’s parents were Michael Scheyer (1828-1900) and Minnie Newman (1831-1905). They married in 1855 and, in 1863, they took their four small children and left Germany for the United States. They had at least three more children in the U.S. The 1880 and 1900 census records show Rosa’s family living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rosa’s father Michael was a second-hand furniture dealer. In 1880, Rosa, their oldest daughter, at age 21, was working as a dressmaker.
In 1882, Rosa married Aaron Klein. Their children were:
- Michael (b. 1885)
- Gertrude (1887-1929), married William Pitzele in 1908
- Jeannette Kay (1889-1970), married Alois Stein in 1912
- Charles (1891-1936), served in U.S. Navy
- Ruth (1894-1911)
- Adolph (1897-1972), served in U.S. Navy, attended University of Michigan, married Celia Burke
- Sidney Samuel (1899-1974), served in U.S. Navy
Jeannette Kay Klein and Alois Stein
Alois Stein and Jeannette Kay married on November 25, 1912. They lived on Rockwell Avenue with their daughters Lois Ruth (1913-1996) and Marion Selma (1916-2000).
After Alois and Jeannette Kay divorced around 1918, Jeannette Kay, Lois, and Marion went to live with Aaron and Rosa at 8912 Exchange Avenue in South Chicago. In a 1987 journal entry, Lois recalls:
When I was five – my sister Marion was two – we went to live with my grandparents as our parents were divorced. I have no remembrance of a father and did not see him until I was about 12 – and then never again. My mother never spoke of him – good or bad.
The 1920 Chicago census shows Jeannette at age 30 working as a saleslady. Her parents Aaron and Rosa were retired and some of her brothers also lived in the household.
Memories of Family Life
In a series of journal entries from 1987, Lois Stein remembers her mother, grandfather Aaron, and grandmother Rosa. Excerpts:
I can only guess that my mother went to work soon after we went to my grandparents house as I can not remember ever seeing her in the kitchen – or doing house work – or working in the yard-garden. She was always dressed for public. Her hands were very nice with carefully manicured nails. Likewise her hair was always proper. Her skin was very white – never a hint of sun exposure. I never remember her having a cold or being sick in bed. Her face never had a blemish. Her sense of humor was great and a hearty noisy laugh. Until she retired she was very slender. In the summertime she worked a half day on Saturdays and we always went someplace. It was a planned day – the zoo – the park – the pier – White City amusement park and once in a while to visit a friend or relative.
My grandfather (maternal – Aaron Klein) died when I was about ten. He was a retired gentleman. He had nice clothes – a lite weight summer jacket – a winter coat with velvet collar. During the year when the weather was pleasant he would sit on the front porch – talk with neighbors and service men. Beside the mailman – ice man – vegetable man – fish man – and all others that passed by. He had a white full mustache and used a cane with a silver handle…I have good memories of him. He would send me to the store to buy Dutch Master cigars and he would make a big ado when he would put the paper on my finger for a ring. I never saw him do anything manual or physical in or out to the house or yard. Many a Saturday afternoon we would go walk two blocks to the Calumet Theatre. He had a favorite box and we would enjoy an afternoon of vaudeville. He read a German daily newspaper – spoke German to my grandmother, but not to the children. They neither learned to speak or understand German.
My mother worked in downtown Chicago in a big department store on State Street. We were 13 miles from Center City. The Illinois Central Railroad had a commuter line with tracks along Lake Michigan…It started downtown and we were at the end of the line – So. Chicago. My mother did not arrive home until nearly seven, likewise she left early in the morning.
My grandmother was not bossy nor domineering, but she was the captain and director. When it came time for me to go to college, I had a cousin would would be going to college. My grandmother said I should go where he went. I was 16 – he was 18 and maybe she had the idea that I would be protected.
Jeannette Kay Klein Stein is buried, along with her parents Aaron and Rosa, in Waldheim Cemetery near Forest Park, Chicago, IL (Gate 43, Lot 19, Section P, Row 25, Graves 2 & 5 & 6).