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Moses Levi (1827-1898)
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Moses Levi (1827–1898)
Carte de visite dated February 1891
Studio of Edm. Draper, 1500 Columbia Ave., S.W.,
Philadelphia, Pa.
Photographic paper on cardboard
Private collection

The son of Jacob Lovy, age 44, a butcher, and Johanna Grunewald, Moses Levi had immigrated to America five years before Hannah Jacobs, the woman who would become his wife. Amazingly the certificate announcing his birth at 7:00 A.M., August 11, 1827, survives; it was witnessed by a mason and a town employee, suggesting the family was solidly middle class.

Like many German immigrants to the South, Moses Levi joined the Confederate Army. He eventually became quartermaster of his regiment. On April 1, 1865, Levi was taken prisoner at the Battle of Five Forks during the last Federal attacks on Petersburg, Virginia. Released from prison three months later, he and several friends walked back to Manning from Virginia. When he got to the edge of the yard, the story goes, he called for hot water, clean clothes, and a match to burn the clothes he was wearing.

Levi discovered that the bales of cotton his family had accumulated during the war had been burned when Brigadier General Edward E. Potter’s army came through. Also consumed in the blaze were most of his buildings and virtually everything he owned. Losses for the town of Manning totaled about $103,000. Moses Levi lost $40,000.

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Last updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2019