Esther Levy

Esther Solomon Levy

From Carolyn Hahn Photo taken around 1860

Birth: November 9, 1824 in Kent, England

Death: December 1, 1911 (age 87) in Victoria, B.C.

Esther Solomon came from a respectable London family which struggled financially.  Her father had a variety of jobs including slopseller, (English merchant who sold cheap ready-made clothes). He also baked at Passover.  During the depression following the war, he declared bankruptcy.

With financial assistance, Esther immigrated to New Zealand on a Jewish Bride ship. On June 1, 1842 she married Benjamin Levy.  Theirs was the second Jewish wedding on record in New Zealand. Their son Henry Emanuel (HE) was born a year later in Wellington, New Zealand.  His was the first bris, (ritual circumcision).  In 1844 their second son died in infancy and was the first to be buried in the Jewish Cemetery in New Zealand. 

From New Zealand, the family went to Australia, then back to New Zealand, then to the California Gold Rush, returning briefly to London.  On their way back to California, while on the overland route through the Isthmus of Panama her husband, Benjamin died.  Esther was left with 6 children and her daughter Phoebe on the way.  After arriving in San Francisco the family returned to London with contributions from the London Jewish community.  In 1868, her eldest son, Henry Emanuel (H.E.) brought her and all of his siblings to Victoria.

The family was friends with the Belasco’s. Esther sometimes babysat their son David. David Belasco would later become an important figure on Broadway.

Esther’s sons set up a small business called Mrs Levy’s Confectionery a few doors down from her son, H.E. Levy’s popular restaurant eventually known as Levy’s. Esther ran the sweet shop for many years. 

Esther’s brother remained in London, but his wife and their adult children came to Victoria.  The boys changed their last name from Solomon to Salmon.  E.J. Salmon was a hardware merchant and curio dealer and lay leader and caretaker at the synagogue.  Henry (H.L.) Salmon was a tobacconist and organizer of the Salmon sweepstakes, a horse race modelled after the English Derby.

Esther Solomon Levy died on December 1, 1911 and is buried in the main family plot.

Gravesite Details: Row F – Plot 15

In Loving Memory of
Esther Levy
mother of H.E. Levy
1824 – 1911

Fredil “Phoebe” Solomon
Emanuel Joseph Solomon

Benjamin Levy (1819-1853)

Joseph “Joe” Levy (1841
Henry Emanuel “H.E.” Levy (1843-1929)
Samuel L. Levy (1845-1923)
Jacob “Jack” Levy (1848-1913)
Phoebe Levy Levy (1854-1926)
Abraham Levy (died in 1874)

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