Caroline Hamlin Spiegel @1863

Caroline Hamlin Spiegel (1833-1901) wife of Colonel Marcus M. Spiegel

Caroline Frances Hamlin Spiegel was a remarkable woman. She was born in Limaville, Stark County, Ohio on July, 27, 1833, the daughter of Stephen and Lizzie Hamlin, respected members of the Quaker community. She married Marcus M. Spiegel, a German-Jewish immigrant, who was the son of a Rabbi, on August 7, 1853, in Stark County, Ohio. Marcus and Caroline moved to Chicago a few weeks after their marriage. Caroline converted to Judaism, from her Quaker faith, on August 21, 1853. It was probably the first conversion to Judaism in Chicago. When the Civil War began in 1861, the Spiegel’s were living in Ohio. Marcus volunteered to join the 67th Ohio Regiment and later transferred to the 120th Ohio Regiment He became one of the highest ranking Jewish officers in the Union Army. Unfortunately, this heroic patriot was killed during the war. Two months after his death, Caroline gave birth to their fifth child. She moved from Ohio back to Chicago to be near the Spiegel relatives and remained true to Judaism, raising her children in the Chicago Jewish community. The eldest daughter of Caroline and Marcus, Lizzie Spiegel Barbe, (great grandmother of Jean Soman) helped found the National Council of Jewish Women with her first cousin, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon.
Caroline, remained a widow and fortunately, saved all of Marcus’ wartime letters and wisely mounted them in a black leather album. This album was passed down from mother to daughter for five generations. Caroline Frances Alschuler Powers, Jean Soman’s mother, inherited the letters from her mother, grandmother and great grandmother and instilled in Jean an interest in her family’s history. Jean Powers Soman, the great, great granddaughter of Caroline and Marcus, spent more than a decade transcribing these historic letters, researching and writing about Colonel Marcus and Caroline Spiegel.
Jean Powers Soman and Frank L. Byrne edited the book, A JEWISH COLONEL in THE CIVIL WAR, Marcus M. Spiegel of the Ohio Volunteers(University of Nebraska Press.) The book is still in print.

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