French Empire
Permanent Dispensation

The recruitment committee of the District of Mont Connerre, by virtue of article 43 of the Imperial Decree of the 8th of Fructidor, the year 13, and of the Decree of the 31st of January 1809.

Under permanent exemption from Service to the Gentleman ABRAHAM BLOCH, conscript of 1810, born in Niedersulz en, District of Mont Connerre, height 1610 mm (5' 3 1/2"), hair (?), brown eyebrows, red eyes, covered forehead, straight nose (?) mouth, pointed chin, oval face marked by small pox.

WHO being of a weak constitution and having an incurable disease of the eyes,

The Gentleman BLOCH, not being taxed for himself or on behalf of his father or mother, has paid fifty francs and shall pay no further indemnity.

DONE at Mainz, the 16th of February 1809.

Signed by the Major of the 69th Regiment of ___

Captain of the Gendarmerie NEROUNE


Historical background which may have prompted immigration of ancestors to America.

The Men of 1848

The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed the arrival on American shores of a vast number of German immigrants, who gained a most significant place in American history: "the Men of 1848."

Their peculiar name needs explanation. As is commonly known, all political conditions of central Europe had at the beginning of the nineteenth century been overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte, that great adventurer, who aimed at the erection of a Caesarean Empire, the like of which the world had not seen before. This dream was defeated in the great battle at Leipzig by the inhabitants of the kingdoms and principalities of Germany and those of Austria. Having taken such a heroic part in this gigantic struggle for liberation, the people had hoped for the establishment of constitutional governments, in which they might have part. But this justified expectation was sadly deceived. The rulers, forgetful that the people had saved their thrones, denied it such right, and opened instead a long period of reaction, which manifested its triumph in dark acts of oppression and tyranny. Dissatisfied by the ingratitude of the sovereigns, many patriots, detesting violence, turned their backs on the land of their birth, hoping to find in America new fields for their abilities. Others, unwilling to submit to the petty tyranny of the rulers, -resolved to resist and became leaders in a bitter struggle for liberty, which, dragging along for many years, culminated in the revolutionary outbreaks of the year 1848. The symbols of that sanguinary year were chosen and denote all those Germans and Austrians, who took part in the long struggle, though their participation dated back to earlier years. Among those men were thousands who had reached the highest pinnacle of intellectual development, men with ideal inspirations, who became in America successful promoters of the ethical, moral and material welfare of the people, and gained also widespread influence in the direction of affairs in our federation of States.

Among the earlier arrivals, who came between 1820 to 1848, were Karl Follen, Karl Beck, Franz Lieber, Joseph Grund, Johann August Roebling, Georg Seidensticker and Max Oertel , every one an apostle of science, art and home culture.

Among the men, who came in 1848 and the years following, were Karl Schurz, Franz Sigel, Peter Osterhaus, Friedrich Hecker, Gustav Körner, Gustav von Struve, Karl Heinzen, Hans Kudlich, August Willich, Konrad Krez, Max Weber, Karl Eberhard Salomo, Julius Stahel, Max Weber, Hermann Raster, Johann Bernhard Stallo, Friedrich Kapp, Lorenz Brentano, Friedrich Hassaureck, Oswald Ottendorfer, Caspar Butz, Theodor Kirchhoff, Karl Douai and many thousand others. In all, Germany lost during the so-called "Reaktionszeit" more than one and a half million of her best citizens.

Germany's loss meant for the United States an invaluable gain, as so many hundred thousands of highly cultured men and women came into this country. While the former German immigration had consisted essentially of farmers, workmen and traders, now scholars and students of every branch of science, artists, writers, journalists, lawyers, ministers, teachers and foresters came in numbers. The enormous amount of knowledge, idealism and activity, embodied in these political exiles, made them the most valuable immigrants America ever received. As they accepted positions as teachers and professors at the schools and universities, or filled public offices, or founded all sorts of newspapers and periodicals, learned societies and social clubs, these men inspired the hitherto dull social life of America, that it gained a much freer and more progressive character.

By their able leadership the older German element in the United States improved also greatly. Formerly without close connection and compared with an army of able soldiers but without officers, it now began to form under the leadership of the men of 1848 a community, whose prime efforts were directed toward the welfare of their adopted country and to keep unsullied the fountains of liberty and the rights of men. That among the exiles of 1848 were characters of the same calibre as Franklin and Washington.

Source: Rudolf Cronau's German Achievements in Amerika

Recollections from Edward Bloch about his parents,
Joseph and Hannah (Goldstucker) Bloch

Joseph Bloch was born in a little village called Wachenheim near Bingen on the Rhine. He was apprenticed early in life to a wine dealer.

Joseph Bloch came to America in 1848. At the age of 22, he became involved in the revolutionary movement of 1848. One of his friends was put in jail at the age of 18. The burgomeister said to his father, "Get your son out of the country or I'll have to arrest him." So they got him a forged passport and shipped him to America to be apprenticed to a wine merchant friend in New Orleans. He was accompanied by his eldest sister Jeannette.

But he never got to New Orleans... The ship stopped for three days in Mobile. My father was wandering in the town square when a girl caught his eye. "I will stay here and marry that girl!" he said. He took his belongings, including a flute and guitar, off the boat, found lodgings and set himself up as a music teacher... He married the girl - my mother!

The marriage of Joseph and Hannah was followed shortly by the marriage of Hannah's brother, Abraham to Joseph's sister Jeannette.

In 1850 Joseph and Jeannette's parents, Abraham and Babette Levy Bloch and their younger sister Caroline came to America.

During the Civil War Joseph was a bugler with the Alabama State Artillery.

Joseph was Professor of Music at St. Joseph's Institute at Springhill College near Mobile, Alabama 1870 or 1860 -1897


Hannah Goldstucker Bloch (1831-1911) married an amazingly talented, but highly impractical musician. 

Of her nine children, three died in one week during an epidemic of meningitis.  One of these, known in Mobile musical circles as "The Young Mozart" was apparently an astonishing child prodigy.  He knew by heart at the age of 8, all 48 Preludes and Fugues of Bach's Well Tempered Clavichord. 

A ten dollar greenback, sent home as a souvenir from the Battle of Shiloh, and hidden away (unpatriotically) by Hannah, stood the family in good stead when the Union Forces marched into Mobile and Confederate currency became worthless. 

Hannah's two older sons, Edward 13 and Godfrey 11, went to the Union encampment to see whether the Yankees actually had horses.  There Edward's red hair attracted the attention of a young soldier who had a red-headed kid brother at home, and the two boys were invited to lunch -- "The first square meal we'd had in I don't know when," said Edward sixty years later.

The soldier complained that there was no writing paper to be had anywhere.  Edward went home, asked his Mother for the hidden ten dollar bill, brought writing paper, which he promptly sold, brought more with the proceeds, and within a few days had stocked the family larder.

Hannah's children adored her, but to her grandchildren she always seemed a rather forbidding figure.


Joseph Bloch (1826-1903) came to America in 1848.  He was imbued with the spirit of Freedom, an ardent believer in the Rights of Man, and unalterably opposed to slavery.  He admired Lincoln and on the evening of the day when the population was celebrating the secession of Alabama from the Union, sat alone in his darkened back parlor, refusing to take part in the festivities.  He was supposed to be part of the underground organization that helped fugitive slaves.

An astonishing musical prodigy, he played every instrument except the harp.  he organized Mobile's first band, choruses and orchestra, and was for half a century, Professor of Music at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama.

On one occasion, hearing that a negro family was to be sold at auction and separated, he went to the slave market and bought them, though he could not afford to pay for them, much less keep them.  His friends came to his rescue, and divided the family up among themselves and the poor creatures continued, at least, to live in the same town and the small children stayed with their mother.

Joseph Bloch was called "The Father of Music" in Mobile.


Eulogy Over Professor Bloch
Delivered Tuesday, July 14, 1903

Ended is the music of Joseph Bloch's life.  Stilled are the strings of a heart that ever played in tones never to be forgotten, a perfect hymn of love and peace.  As quietly as he moved through this world, so calmly he died - this righteous God-fearing man, whose career was a symphony of music and religions.  A musician he was by instinct and calling - a musician whose mind glorified in the harmony of sound, and whose soul reveled in the the moral and spiritual harmony - the peace of man with his fellow creatures and his God.

When religion is blended with music, there is a rare fusing of ideal elements, for religion is the harmony of life with the moral ideal, and music the harmony of man's sensuous nature.

Musicians there are who are technically talented, who have the keenest intellectual perceptions of music, who compose oratorios and operas, whose works live as classics, who become even the world's masters.

But of what value is the knowledge of music and the technique of the artist, unless there be music in the character and conduct, unless the delicate shadings of sound perceived by the musician arouse in the heart and soul, the finest moral and spiritual emotions? Only a musician whose life is refined and spiritualized by the power of music, such as our dear friend Professor Bloch, is to be loved, admired and mourned after death.

With him music was a religion and religion a music.  Although when he left active life, he laid aside the instruments of music, he struck the major-chord of religion by ending his last days in peace and meeting his Maker calmly and resignedly.  He was a type of the real and earnest Israelite, who had a deep and abiding faith in the ways of God.  Although he did not remain narrowly orthodox, for he was the first to introduce the organ and choral music into our synagogue, he had the essential and distinguished traits of the true Israelite, Emunah, Zedakah, Anavah, faith, charity, humility, and also chivalry, kindness, patience, forbearance and strict felicity to the highest moral standards.  With him, Judaism was a deep concern of life.

I shall never forget his familiar figure as he would come to the house of God on Shabbas morning and enter into divine services with a sincere and genuine enthusiasm that this strenuous age flippancy often tends to deprecate.  When he and his good wife, both of whose lives are striking examples of religious and moral strength, came to the Temple on the occasion of their fifty-third wedding anniversary, a sublime joy was written upon his face, and as a minister, I could not but feel that in his beautiful and unmarred wedded life, religion had been a potent and holy influence.

The true Israelite need not fear the ridicule of the world for his is a lover of peace, Ohav Shalom, and his Christian fellow men respect him the more for his consistency of religion and practice.

In these days when so many so called modern persons imagine religion and Judaism to be a useless burden, it is refreshing to note how a true and consistent Israelite like this good man in respected by his Christian fellow men in his life and honored in his death far more than many an Israelite who has died with wealth or culture, but without strong religious faith and practice.  Let his good friends, the Catholic Priests, among whom he lived and worked, let the boys whom he instructed in music, testify to the nobility and purity of this true and staunch Israelite.

Whenever I visited Spring Hill College, where he taught thirty seven years, I invariably heard the name of Professor Bloch pronounced upon the lips of his former friends with a feeling of reverence.  As one of them said to me a few days ago, "We loved the Professor, we could not help doing so."  Oh, my friends.  What a volume of tribute and esteem in that sentence.

Yes, all of us loved this lover of peace.  As we sat about his death bed and watched the flickering away of his life, all of us, his family and his friends, felt a profound feeling of love and veneration for him. Not only you, his children, mourn him today, but many more, the children of his spirit.

I need not tell you what your father was to you, nor need I state that you have already shown the true appreciation of his life of self-sacrifice.  When I see about me his sons and daughters and grand-children, respected and honored in this community by Christians and Israelites, and know that they themselves are the founders of such religious homes as he built here, I praise God that through the children, His ways are made manifest, and that the true comfort of the religious mind is found in the higher moral results that come from the life of one who was himself genuinely religious.

One word to you, my dear friend Mrs. Bloch.  Do not grieve over the death of your good husband.  You ought to say with our pious fathers, "Baruch dayyan emes, Blessed be the Judge of Truth."  You have had more than the average share of happiness.  You have seen the golden link forged in your chain of wedded life, you did your full duty as a wife and mother, you have seen your children grown up to be like you and your husband, upright men and women, and zealous Jews and Jewesses.  You should thank God that He has vouchsafed to you such a large portion of life's real blessings.

Take this death, my friends, in a true religious sense, realize that we can not live forever in this world.  We are cribbed and cabined by the flesh and the blood.  But no matter what the mystery before the cradle or after the grave, in this life we have an opportunity to achieve higher ends, to do the will of God, and by our eternal thoughts and deeds to live in men's hearts and in the world to come.  This existence is but a delicate instrument.  We are sent by the Supreme Musician of the world out of infinity to play upon it, either chords of happiness or discords of evil.  When we die, may it be said of us, that upon the strings of life we have sounded as this musician of the soul, melodies of divine religion and righteousness that will vibrate through eternity and blend with the hymns of goodness and piety played by all the servants of God.