Can you Supply Missing Data on the Jewish Merchants of Franklin, TN?

The Williamson County Historical Society based in Franklin, TN, is asking you, readers of The Jewish Observer and the Greater Nashville Jewish community, to fill in missing details for an upcoming in-depth publication by author Ruth Lebovitz and County Historian, Rick Warwick. “The History of the Jewish Merchants of Franklin, TN mid-19th century to mid-20th century,” is a compilation of stories including more than two dozen merchants and their stores.  

The purpose of this historic text is to share, and bring to life the major contributions that Jews had in the development of Franklin, Tennessee, and the Greater Nashville area, and the legacy they left behind.

Warwick accumulated a sizable amount of local newspaper clippings including advertisements, notices, and Jewish obituaries that span about a hundred years, starting in the mid-1800s. Did you know:  

  • The first Jew lynched in America happened in Franklin, TN?

  • The story of a dozen Jews who moved from Chicago, IL, to establish a community named Jew Town near Franklin? 

 Some of the details uncovered so far: 

“During WW II an American soldier in Europe opened a can of tomatoes and said, “Hey these are Tohrner tomatoes, canned in Franklin, TN That’s where I’m from.”  

“Although many people in the Nashville area are familiar with Zager’s Deli which used to be a favorite spot to eat and shop, most do not know that there was also a Zager’s Dry Goods Store on Main Street in Franklin.”  


Much historical information still lays dormant in the minds and hearts of many in the Greater Nashville Jewish community. Despite three years of research by the historic society’s researcher and writer Ruth Lebovitz, large holes remain in family stories and missing facts and details about the 26 names below.  

Do you recognize any of the names listed below, or know of others, and do you have the who, what, when, where, and how to complete their stories? 

Please contact if you have information and/or to include your name on a pre-order copy of the upcoming publication. 

Ruth W. Lebovitz, B.A., M.Ed., J.D., is a writer and researcher who has lived in Franklin, TN, for 38 years. She has stories published in the anthology, “By Blood or By Marriage,” and was previously a feature writer for The Williamson Herald.  

Williamson County Historical Society’s mission: We preserve history through research, publication, and outreach. More info is available at the website: Williamson County Historical Society Williamson County History

Seeking Information on these Jewish Merchants of Franklin, TN 

  1. Adel, Isaac. G. (Adels Clothing & Dry Goods Store)   

  1. Bierfield, Samuel  

  1. Brodsky, Louis (Brodsky and Raskin Dry Goods)  

  1. Bryan, Ike (Bryan’s Dry Goods Store)  

  1. Cohen, Abe  

  1. Cohen, Harry L.  

  1. Cohen’s Furniture Store  

  1. Cohen, Reuben & Alex  

  1. Edgeman, Harry (Edgeman’s Dry Goods Store)  

  1. Frankland, Louis (Louis Frankland & Co)  

  1. Ginsberg, Ike also spelled Ginsburg (Ginsberg’s Ladies Ready-to-Wear Shop)  

  1. Goldberg, S.  

  1. Gutman or Guttman (Guttman & Cohen, Toy Store)   

  1. M Guttman’s Store (could be Max)  

  1. Jacobs, M. L. (Jacobs Department Store)  

  1. Katzman, Dave (Gent’s Furnishing Store)  

  1. Kaufman, Louis  

  1. Lapidus, Leon (Seligman’s nephew store operator)  

  1. Lipsheets, Joseph (Civil War peddler buried at Carnton)  

  1. Mendelsohn, Joe & Abe  

  1. Posnack, Joe (Kiddie Store)  

  1. Raskin, Jake (nephew of Isaac and Frank Brodsky)  

  1. Seligman, Harry (purchased Zager’s)  

  1. Tohrner, Martin (variety of businesses)  

  1. Weiner, Charles (CPS Industry)  

  1. Zager Nathan (Zager’s Dry Good Store)  


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