People A-Z  /  Marcus Flintrowitz

Soldier and Cigar Maker



Marcus Flintrowitz was born in Kraków, and came to Buffalo in 1846 and initially worked as a barber. Soon after, he enlisted for service in the Mexican-American War on February 6, 1847 serving in the 1st US Artillery and fought in several battles. During the Battle of Contreras in Mexico, he was badly wounded and discharged from the army in Mexico City on November 28, 1847. Professor Selig Adler, in his book From Ararat to Suburbia, lists him as one of only 58 Jews in the US to serve in the war. On his return to Buffalo in 1848, having lost his left leg in battle, he could no longer work as a barber and he began a cigar business at 792 Genesee Street. He married Anna Schwartz, originally from Bohemia on October 13, 1854 and they had seven children. Marcus Flintrowitz was part of the first wave of Jewish residents in Buffalo, arriving just before the formal founding of Temple Beth El, and the first congregation of Jewish Buffalo.

Disagreements over religious practice within the congregation, led to a split and the formation of (old) Beth Zion, originally aligned with orthodoxy. By 1865, the newly named Temple Beth Zion was part of the American Reform movement within Judaism. In addition to seeing the birth of Reform Judaism in Buffalo, he also witnessed the expansion of the Buffalo community from a predominantly central European community to an array of Eastern European Jewish subcommunities from 1881 to 1924, when Jewish organizations and synagogues as well as the Jewish population expanded exponentially.

Marcus Flintrowitz died on April 9, 1882 at the age of 66 and is buried in the Old Beth Zion cemetery on Pine Ridge and, unusually, has two headstones. The original smaller headstone was erected after his death by his wife Anna Flintrowitz and their children, and the second larger and taller one, after her death. Both monuments bear the inscription: “A veteran soldier of the Mexican War.”



Discover More

  • Selig Adler and Thomas F. Connelly. From Ararat to Suburbia: The History of the Jewish Community of Buffalo. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1960.
  • Entry for Flintrowitz, Marcus, as cigar maker in Thomas’ Buffalo City Directory, 1864, EA Thomas: Buffalo, NY, 1864, p. 187.
  • Entry on 1855 census for Ward 7,  Buffalo City, Erie County as a resident in Buffalo for 9 years. His wife Anna is also listed with a residency of a single year. See: New York State Census, 1855, Marcus Flintrowitz, Ward 7, Buffalo City, Erie, New York, United States; line #13, family #1686, county clerk offices, New York; FHL microfilm 825,679.
  • Entry for Marcus Flintrowitz, 1887 in Elmore, S. – Griffin, William, v. 5 , “United States Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926”, Elmore, S. – Griffin, William, v. 5, image 1394 of 4470; NARA microfilm publication T317 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

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