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von Holstein, Holstein,

von Holstein, Holstein,

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 1 Apr 1999 12:00PM GMT

Holstein, von Holstein

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 10 Jun 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Holstein, von Holstein
We are trying to piece proofs of it together. Casper Christian von Holstein was a Major in the Danish West Indies militia. He was serving under Peter von Scholten at the time of Emancipation. He was born in Denmark to a cadet branch of the Landgraves of Holstein. A family holding the rank of Count in Denmark and The Holy Roman Empire.

He was married to a wealthy and well educated woman of color Sarah Elise de Chabert whose father Louis Vassilieu de Chabert was a lieutenant in the Free Colored Militia born in Martinique to a white father who had made a fortune shipping sugar and a colored mother. Major Casper v Holstein apparently had more than one household. Major Casper and Sarah's quadroon son Christian was a Civil Servant in Denmark before retiring to America living first in New York then in a Danish community in Nebraska.

Casper Christian von Holstein is beleived to have been the grandfather of Casper Holstein a well known figure in Virgin Islands history. Casper Holstein was born in 1876 his mother took him to New York in 1888 where his varied career included being a doorman, porter, Wall Street messenger, U.S. Navy sailor, political activist, rancher and Harlem's largest and most innovative gambling kingpin.

His love in life was politics, lobbying in support of Americas blacks and the varied economically devestated Virgin Islanders. In order to remain in politics he left gambling. He appears as a character in the movie "Cotton Club". He was kidnapped by associates of Dutch Schultz in 1928 and was approached by Bumpy Johnson who offered to organize armed protection for his numbers operations. Casper Holstein refused and left the now bloody as well as illegal business instead because he did not wish to lose his political effectiveness.

Greatgrandfather Emile Holstein

Posted: 10 Jun 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 17 Jan 2003 1:18AM GMT
Surnames: Holstein

My greatgrand father Emile Holstein was born in St. Croix about 1861. The only thing we know about him is that he married Candida Friely from St. Thomas and his father's name was Frederick. Anyone have info on this family?

Emil_ Holstein

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 12 Jun 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Holstein

I think it is interesting that there is only a letter difference between Emily (Caspers mother) and Emile your
greatgrandfather but I don't know whether there's any significance. Casper was born in 1876

Smothergill Connection

Posted: 8 May 2002 12:27PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 23 Jun 2004 11:21PM GMT
Richard Bond's mention of Casper Holstein in a recent posting reminded me of a Smothergill connection to this legendary figure. I was about to post what follows in reply to Richard's message, but then came across this old thread on Holstein which probably is the more appropriate place for it.

Caspar Holstein's obituary in the New York Times (April 9, 1944, page 36, column 6) read in part:

"He succumbed to a long illness on Wednesday in the home of a friend, Al Smothergill, 98 Morningside Avenue, it was learned last night."

A second Smothergill is mentioned in this description of Holstein's last days that appears in Guirty's book, "Harlem's Danish-American West Indians, 1889 - 1964":

"[Casper Holstein's] last days were spent under the roof of the late Rosa Styles on the same street near his Holstein Court. Rosa's daughter, Mercedes Smothergill, and her mother gave him daily care". (Guirty, G. p. 63)

Al Smothergill, in all likelihood, was Alvertson Gamaliel Smothergill who was a cousin of mine. He was born on St. Croix in1902 and died in New York in 1986. His father was James Augustus Smothergill and his grandfather was James Thomas Smothergill.

Mercedes Smothergill is new to me. The combination of Guirty's passage with the Times's obituary suggests that her father may have been Al Smothergill. Does anyone know more about Mercedes Smothergill or Rosa Styles?

My thanks to Karl Frederiksen for bringing both references to my attention.

Re: Smothergill Connection

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 9 May 2002 12:06AM GMT
Classification: Query
How about posting the whole NYT obit

Notice of Death of Casper Holstein

Posted: 2 Nov 2002 9:20AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 23 Jun 2004 11:21PM GMT
Surnames: Holstein
The following appeared April 9, 1944 in The New York Times on page 36, column 6:

FORMER 'POLICY KING' IN HARLEM DIES BROKE

Casper Holstein of Harlem Had $500,000 at Peak of Career

Casper Holstein, who was called the "King of Policy" in Harlem until the late Arthur [Dutch Schultz] Flegenheimer took over the racket fifteen years ago, and whose fortune once ran to $500,000, is dead - and he died broke. He succumbed to a long illness in the home of a friend, Al Smothergill, 98 Morningside Avenue, it was learned last night. Funeral services will be held today at the memorial Baptist Church, 141 West 115th Street. He was 67 years old.
Holstein, once a power in th Negro Elks and a philanthropist who gave away thousands of dollars in Harlem and in his native Virgin Islands, had lived in obscurity since serving a three-year prison term, imposed in 1936 for operating a small numbers game in the district where he formerly had dominated policy.
The period of his greatest wealth came in 1928, when he was kidnapped by 5 white men and held for ransom. They asked $50,000 for his release, and when the money was not forthcoming, threw him out of an automobile in Seventh Avenue, after beating him brutually.
Holstein for a time operated the Turf Club, 111 West 136th Street, then a rendezvous for Negro sportsmen. He was president of the New York Virgin Islands Association, which collected funds for the islands' Negro colony. In 1929 he ran for the office of Grand Exalted Ruler of the Negro Elks, but was defeated.

Re: Notice of Death of Casper Holstein

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 5 Nov 2002 2:03AM GMT
Classification: Query
At the time that Holstein had net assets of US $500,000 the average Negro laborer with a regular job was making a dollar a day. It also does not fully reflect his economic power because his wealth was held in real estate. The real assets he controlled were five to ten times greater. Calculated on that basis his assets controlled would be on the order of a hundred million dollars in todays money. He was as they say also remarkable for his donations to black causes in the states. He also gave for the benefit of the Virgin Islands in general. Halvor Berg a Dane was the lobbyist for his American Virgin Islands Civic Association. His Virgin Islands properties were managed by the Lebanese Alexander family.

Re: Notice of Death of Casper Holstein

Posted: 6 Nov 2002 12:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 23 Jun 2004 11:21PM GMT
So the NYT account overlooked many of Casper Holstein's diverse assets when he was at his peak. How about the claim that he died broke? Was that wrong too?

Virgin Islanders in Harlem

Posted: 8 Nov 2002 7:30PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 Jun 2004 11:21PM GMT
Those interested in the life of Casper Holstein might also find of interest a paper on the Web by Sara Smollett, apparently written while a student at Simons Rock College of Bard.

http://www.simons-rock.edu/~sara/index.php3?topic=classes/ha...

Smollett provides sketches of a number of Virgin Island emigrants to Harlem who became prominent members of that community. In addition to Holstein, she discusses Frank Crosswaith, Austin Hansen, Hubert H. Harrison, Elizabeth Hendrickson, J. Raymond Jones, and Ashley L. Totten.
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