Simcha Zelig “Selig” Dudelczak was born in Volhynia, Ukraine, in 1860, son of Samuel Zvi “Hirsh” and Gerte. Possible cities for his birth include Zhitomir and Alexandriya. He married Nechama “Anna” Perlik, daughter of Isaac Wulf Perlik and Freida Lipman. Throughout his life, Selig used a variety of names, including Selig Feinstein, Samuel Feinstein, and Salem Feinstein.

Selig and Anna had three sons born in Volhynia: Harry in 1884, Herman in 1886, and Benjamin in 1888. In 1890, Selig journeyed to America on his own, arriving at Castle Garden in New York in September 1890. His daughter Pearl was born in December 1890. Anna, Gerte, and the children landed at Castle Garden in October 1891, traveling under the surname Feinstein, which the whole family adopted in America. Both manifests say their destination was New York, and Selig doesn’t appear in St. Louis city directories until 1892, so he may have spent a year in New York waiting for the rest of the family.

Children of Selig and Anna, born in St. Louis, include Morris (1893), David (1895), Aaron (1898), Joseph (1899), and Rose (1901). David and Joseph died as infants.

Selig’s first career in St. Louis was as a shoer/blacksmith between 1892 and 1900, partnering with Max Weiselman. Weiselman was born in Zhitomir, Volhynia, but it is unknown whether they knew each other beforehand. In 1898, the two co-patented a modification to the fire hydrant (See image to the right.) Selig operated The Western Junk Shop in 1901–1902 and another junk store until at least 1905. By 1908, he began opening real estate and laundry operations with his children, helping them get a start in the business world. There is some indication Selig’s wife, Anna, was also involved with the real estate business.

Selig was active in the Jewish community. Vice president of Tpheris Israel Congregation at its founding in 1899, he was elected president of the congregation in 1903. (Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha in Chesterfield is a result of a merger in the 1950s.) An active member of the Chesed Shel Emeth Society, Selig was on the committee that was formed in 1906 to discuss plans for a Jewish old folks home, which was established in 1907. He was the chairman of the Thefharas Zion Talmod Thora Association in 1909 when it established a free school for Jewish children. It’s likely the Thefharas Zion Talmud Thora Association was associated with Tpheris Israel. English spelling of Hebrew words is not consistent.

From at least 1902–1913, Selig was a member of the Jewish fraternal organization, Progressive Order of the West. He appears as a delegate to their annual convention in 1902 and as a second trustee in 1913.

Selig died on 15 March 1915 with burial at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery at Hanley and Olive.

Siblings include: Yidel “Julius” Odelsohn, Zlata “Lottie” Getz Goldstein, Toba “Tillie” Oberman, Bella “Rebecca” Portnoy, and Shprintze “Sylvia” Babchik Blufston. All spent some time in St. Louis. Some other siblings may have remained in Volhynia.

Written by John Newmark
December 2022

© 2023, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Selig Feinstein patent
Selig Feinstein’s patent for an improved fire hydrant, c. 1898
U.S. government patent application. Public Domain

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Last Modified: 18-Mar-2023 14:04