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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HENRY M. ZEKIND was born in Poland on New Year’s Day, 1835, and passed his school days in his native country. At the age of sixteen years he emigrated to the United States, landing in the city of New York, and thence he traveled through several States. For about two years he sojourned in White Water, Wis. He then went to California and remained there twelve years, part of the time engaged in mining, but most of the time in merchandising. On returning from California, he established a store at Sun Prairie, Wis., which he conducted for a period of about three years, meeting with good success. In 1869, he moved his family to St. Joseph, Mich., where he started a dry-goods store, under the firm name of Phillips & Zekind. This connection continued for a few years, and later the firm name became Zekind & Katzenstein, Mr. Phillips selling his interest. Two years after, Mr. Zekind purchased his partner’s interest and continued the business under the title of H. M. Zekind. He remained thus occupied until his demise, which occurred on the 17th of February, 1892.

A man well known for the honesty and integrity which characterized his transactions, Mr. Zekind, from a small beginning, built up a large and profitable business. In every sense of the word he was a self-made man and earned prosperity by deserving it. He was justly regarded as one of the most substantial and representative of the citizens of St. Joseph, and always exhibited a deep interest in the welfare and advancement of the place. His fellow-citizens held him in the highest esteem and frequently elected him to positions of trust. He served as Mayor of St. Joseph for one term, and also filled the position of Alderman, and while the incumbent of these offices he rendered efficient service, being instrumental in securing many municipal improvements.

In national affairs, Mr. Zekind was in favor of the principles advocated by the Republican party, but in local matters he uniformly supported the man whom he deemed best qualified for the office in question. His social connections were with the Masonic fraternity. Occidental Lodge No. 56, of which he was Master for several years, and was Treasurer of the lodge at the time of his decease. He was also a member of the Grand Lodge of the State, and was identified with Calvin Brittain Chapter, R. A. M., of which he was High Priest for several years. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows also counted him as one of its active members. He aided in the organization of the Union Ranking Company of St. Joseph and was one of its Directors for many years before his death. A wide-awake and public-spirited citizen, he took an active part in all enterprises calculated to benefit the city, and his energy contributed not a little to its success.

The wife of Henry M. Zekind bore the maiden name of Carrie Silverman and was born in the city of New York, a daughter of Sidney and Bella (Fraliech) Silverman. She is a lady of culture and refinement and occupies the elegant residence erected by her husband shortly before his decease. Their union resulted in the birth of six children, five now living; Albert A., Bella R., Samuel M., Fannie and Sidney. Samuel M., the third in the family, has succeeded to the management of his father’s mercantile business, and through his energy and good judgment maintains the high character of the establishment.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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