In 1861, the year the Civil War began, there were just 151 Jewish families in Michigan.
David Emil Henieman, born in Detroit on October 17, 1865, was the son of Emil and Fanny Butzel Heineman, prominent Jewish Detroiters who ran a clothing store within Detroit’s Russell House on Campus Martius, and were very involved in the community.
Ezekiel Solomon, a native of Berlin, Germany, who had served with the British army, arrived at Michilimackinac in the summer of 1761. He is Michigan’s first known resident of the Jewish faith.
Near this site, in 1850, a small group of German-Jewish immigrants gathered at the home of Isaac and Sarah Cozens and formed the Bet El Society. Here Marcus Cohen, a layman, conducted the first Jewish religious service in Detroit.
This half-acre cemetery, dedicated on January 1851, was known then as “The Champlain Street Cemetery of Temple Beth El” because Lafayette was formerly Champlain Street.
The Butzel company not only provided uniforms to the Union soldiers during the Civil War, but the brothers also helped provide safe passage for slaves making their way along the Underground Railroad.