Note for: Isaac Mendes (Seixas) Nathan, 24 May 1785 - 30 May 1852 Index
Isaac (known as Seixas) Nathan was one of the signers of the constitution of the NYSE in 1817. He was a member of the St. Nicholas Society from its organization in 1835 and president of Cong. Shearith Israel. Son of Grace and Simon and father of Rebecca Nathan Cardozo, Seixas Nathan was a member of the original board of the New York Stock Exchange in 1820 and an inspector of customs at the Customs House in 1849.
Note for: Sara Seixas, 27 Feb 1791 - 5 Aug 1834 Index
Seixas and Sara Seixas Nathan had fifteen children, all but one of whom survived to adulthood.
Note for: Simon Nathan, 1746 - 8 Sep 1822 Index
CLOSE-UP: The Nathans were a well-to-do and prominent Sephardic family. Simon Nathan, the first American representative of the family, had come to New York from England between 1746 and 1750. He moved to Philadelphia during the American Revolution and established himself quickly in a "handsome genteel House, Garden and Stables in Arch Street known by the name of Rock Hall." Following the Revolution, he returned to New York, describing himself as a merchant, and served as parnas (president) of Shearith Israel.
Shortly after his 1773 arrival in America, English-born merchant Simon Nathan had the occasion to establish himself as a patriot. Nathan provided Governor Thomas Jefferson of Virginia with an interest-free loan of 300,000 continental dollars to clothe five-hundred men at Fort Pitt. Nathan's ongoing generosity resulted in a significant financial loss from which he never recovered. Yet, he continued to prosper as a public figure and moved to Philadelphia in about 1780, where he met and married Grace Mendes Seixas.
Simon was the first of the family in America. He sided with the Revolutionists and was one of a number of Jews who left New York during the British occupation. In Philadelphia he helped raise funds for the building of its first synagogue, the Mickve Israel. His name appears in the first New York City directory (1786) as a real estate owner. He was a trustee of Cong. Shearith Israel, New York City, from 1786-90.
(See Jewishencyclopedia.com - NATHAN.)
"In 1773, another of my maternal ancestors, Simon Nathan, was run out of Jamaica by its British masters for selling the American colonies banned items such as rope, canvas and gunpowder. Landing in New Orleans, Simon wended his way north to Virginia, where he stayed long enough to loan the new state $52,000, for which he received the personal thanks of Gov. Thomas Jefferson. In Philadelphia, Simon married Grace Seixas, and the two of them finally settled in New York, establishing the Nathans there."
-- from “Can't Take It with You: The Art of Making and Giving Money,” by Lewis B. Cullman, 2004.
Note for: Grace Seixas, 24 Nov 1752 - 8 Nov 1831 Index
CLOSE-UP: Grace Seixas Nathan was born in Stratford, CT, into one of the most prominent families of Colonial American Jewry. She began writing poetry early in life and continued writing until her death, although none of her poems were published during her lifetime. Many of her poems reflect her interest in Judaism, including "Reflections on Passing Our New Burial Ground," written to commemorate New York's Shearith Israel's new cemetery. Grace maintained a vibrant correspondence with her niece Sarah Abigail Seixas. These letters reveal Grace's concern for the health and well being of her family, as well as a vivacious sense of humor.
Poet, patriot, wife, and mother, Grace Seixas dedicated her mind and heart to her family, religion, and country. Born in New York City the seventh child of Isaac and Rachel Levy Mendes, she fled with her family to settle in Philadelphia during the Revolution. There she met and married her husband Simon Nathan in 1780. They had one son, Isaac Mendes Seixas Nathan. Her life with Simon is reflected in her family letters and a book of unpublished poems. Grace's counsel, as well as her literary talent, filtered through to her descendents, emerging in among others her great-granddaughter, Emma Lazarus. Grace was one of the first Jewish-American women to publish poems.
I had a bud so very sweet--its fragrance reached the skies.
The angels joined in holy league--and seized it as their prize.
They bore it to their realms of bliss--where it will ever bloom,
For in the bosom of their God they placed my rich perfume.
---Written on the death of my grandchild, Jan’y 19th, 1819-- Grace Seixas Nathan.