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What Happened to the Sephardic Jewish Colonists?

There has never been a scientific study to determine the post-colonial history of the Sephardic communities in the Southern Piedmont and Appalachians. Anything that can be said must be in the realm of speculation, based on the known cultural history of the Southeast during the Colonial and Antebellum Eras. The only significant religious-based persecution in the Lower Southeast was between the Sephardic Jews and the Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe. A Protestant minister in Savannah wrote, “Some Jews in Savannah complain that the Spanish and Portuguese Jews should persecute the German Jews in a way no Christian would persecute another Christian.” One of the biggest obstacles to tracing early Sephardic Jewish colonists in the Appalachians is the general acceptance that Jewish citizens received in the Southeast. Unlike the situation in Spanish and French colonies, they were not forbidden entry. Unlike in the North, Jewish settlers were not pressured into the ghettos of large cities. However, for many decades the only Southern synagogues were in old colonial cities such as Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington and Richmond.1 Most of the Jewish immigrants were dispersed as individual families across the landscape of the Southeast’s towns and plantations. The earliest Jewish settlers were Sephardim. German and Eastern European Jews followed. There was apparently little social stigma in the Old South toward marriage between affluent Jews and Christians. Several prominent Christian and Jewish leaders of that era embarked on happy marriages with spouses of the other religion.2 Some of their children became Christian. Some became Jewish. All carried forward a general tolerance for both faiths. Many, if not most, early Jewish settlers, who were isolated...

Biography of Dr. A. B. Davis

The humanizing influences of Christianity are shown in thousands of directions, but in none to a more marked degree than that of medicine, and although there are pretenders in every profession who for a time may overshadow those more worthy, yet they eventually reach their level and the deserving are then shown in their true light. One of the young but already prominent physicians of Marion County, Arkansas, is Dr. A. B. Davis, of Powell. He was born in Adairsville, Ga., April 18, 1857, a son of P. R. Davis (see sketch of J. F. Davis). He was about twelve years of age at the time the family came to Arkansas, and the most of his literary education was obtained in this section, although his initiatory training was obtained in the State that gave him birth. When about twenty years of age he began the study of medicine with Dr. R. J. Pierce, and he received his first course of lectures at Little Rock, but gave up this work and for some five or six years was engaged in teaching school. He then for some time followed mercantile pursuits at Powell, and then went West and for six months was a resident of California. In 1891 he returned to Arkansas and again took up the study of medicine, and in 1891 took a course of lectures at Little Rock. He then located and practiced for some time at Powell, but not being satisfied with the knowledge he had obtained of his profession, he entered the Medical Department of the Nashville University, of Nashville, Tennessee, and there pursued his studies...

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