When reading a census, one really wants something to jump out, and Isaac Eichberg was that for me. According to the 1870 U.S. Census, he was the head of household of a family of six in Alexandria, Virginia’s First Ward. He also happened to be a “lumber dealer,” and a successful one at that with $19,000 worth of personal property and real estate. His total property is what stuck out to me; this value was the greatest of any German-Jewish immigrant I came across in Alexandria in the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census. My interest began when I could not find initially find Eichberg in the 1880 U.S. Census. His grave in Home of Peace Cemetery, which is also in Alexandria, has his death occurring in 1914. So where did Eichberg and his family go?
Some digging in Chronicling America database of newspapers yielded multiple results for Eichberg that helped me track his life in Alexandria. On May 25, 1872, his name was mentioned as one “of the successful candidates…” for city council in the First Ward of Alexandria in the Evening Star, a regional newspaper published in Washington, D.C.  So clearly he was still living in the area, and presumably the same house. The Evening Star marked his election again in 1879, but this time to the position of aldermen. Eichberg appeared two more times in 1883 and 1885 in the press. During these years, he was elected President of the German Banking Association and German Building Association.
After 1885, Eichberg’s name appeared numerous times in the Alexandria Gazette through advertisements for his dry goods store located at the Corner of King and Royal Street, just a few blocks from the river. He clearly was a prominent figure in the Alexandria community and still active in the area. So again, the question arises, where was he in the 1880 U.S. Census?
After calling in some assistance from Professor Krystyn Moon, I found Eichberg in a different section of the 1880 U.S. Census (the ward was in two sections). Unfortunately, the census did not include his house number, but it did have him on Cameron Street in the Third Ward, putting him on the west side of Washington Street. The census also noted eight children living with Eichberg, four more than in 1870. Eichberg’s job is also listed as dry goods merchant this time, instead of lumber dealer, which correlates to articles and advertisements in the 1880s.
Because of his prominence, a local reporter wrote a rather lengthy obituary in 1914. Reference to his home at 114 North Washington Street was made by the author. It is possible that this is the same home described in the 1880 census because the address is very close to Cameron Street on the Third Ward side. The obituary is very adoring and complementary of Eichberg, making apparent how much he was a prominent figure in the community.
I found it quite fun investigating Eichberg and learning about an influential member of the Alexandria community he was.
Photo 1- “Isaac Eichberg Photo,” The Institute for Southern Jewish Life, http://www.isjl.org/virginia-alexandria-encyclopedia.html (accessed 9/24/2015).
Photo 2- “Isaac Eichberg and Son,” Alexandria Gazette, November 4, 1899, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025007/1899-11-04/ed-1/seq-3/, (accessed 9/24/2015).
-“Alexandria,” Evening Star (Washington), May 25, 1872, Accessed 9/24/2015, Chronicling America.
-“The Alexandria Elections,” Evening Star(Washington), May 23, 1879, Accessed 9/24/2015, Chronicling America.
-“Alexandria,” Evening Star(Washington), March 8, 1883; “Alexandria,” Evening Star (Washington), January 8, 1885, “Accessed 9/24/2015, Chronicling America.
-“Alexandria Affairs,” Evening Star (Washington), January 3, 1885, Accessed 10/1/2015, Chronicling America.
-“Dry Goods,” Alexandria Gazette, January 27, 1890, Accessed 10/1/2015, Chronicling America.
-“Funeral Services For Isaac Eichberg,” Washington Times, November 9, 1914, Accessed 9/24/2015, Chronicling America