Photographs and documents pertaining to Jacob Rostovsky / Roston, sometimes known as John Roston. The collection includes original family photographs as well as a few digital copies of photographs. There are several original documents pertaining to the Roston shoe and leather goods store in downtow…
Photographs and documents pertaining to Jacob Rostovsky / Roston, sometimes known as John Roston. The collection includes original family photographs as well as a few digital copies of photographs. There are several original documents pertaining to the Roston shoe and leather goods store in downtown Montreal, notably an original letter from a prospector offering mining shares in return for supplies, and several mining share certificates dated 1909. The collection also includes original immigration-related documents. The photographs include a studio portrait of Jacob and his sister Dora circa 1895, photographs of Jacob alone and with his young son, and several of his wife Rebecca Roston. The immigration documents include a 1944 paper from the USA for Rebecca, as well as her Canadian passport and Naturalization certificate. Items received in digital format include an advertisement for the Roston leather goods business, views of the street where the store was located, and genealogical information taken from ship lists, census lists, an obituary, and a tombstone.
History / Biographical
Jacob Rostovsky arrived in Montreal in 1891, changed his name to Roston a year later and became a Canadian citizen in 1894. In a business context he sometimes used the first name John rather than Jacob. Roston was initially a cobbler and soon owned a shoe, boot and leather goods store in Montreal on Saint Catherine Street at the corner of Bleury. Having arrived with no money, he eventually became a very wealthy man. Many prospectors purchased equipment from the Roston store before heading west in search of gold. The prospectors often paid Jacob with stock certificates that they had received from mining companies. In 1892 Jacob sponsored his sixteen-year-old sister Dora and brought her to Canada, where she lived with him in Montreal until 1897. At the age of 21 Dora married Caspar Caplan and moved to live with him in Ottawa where Caplan opened a dry goods shop which would become Caplan's Department Store. In 1899, Jacob Roston married Rebecca Tannenbaum, who was born in New York City, USA in 1875. In 1923 Jacob made some poor financial investments and committed suicide so his wife and 4 children could could claim his life insurance policy and be financially secure.
Donated by grandson John Roston on August 21 and 28, 2019