It was in 1902 that a small group of Orthodox Jews arrived in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They came to America from Eastern Europe. They arrived in New York, or in some cases, Galveston, Texas. They came to Oklahoma City following tales they'd heard of relatives who preceded them and who had done well.
That same year, in Russia's huge Jewish ghetto called the Pale of Settlement, rumors of ritual murders were trigging a new wave of pogroms. In Kishinev, the scene of the bloodiest of the pogroms, 45 Jews were left dead and more than 500 were wounded during three days of mob terrorism, which began on the last day of Passover. In that same year, Russia's new minister of the interior, Plehve, made it known that he planned to drown the burgeoning socialist revolution in Jewish blood.
Between 1900 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, more than three-quarters of a million European Jews entered the United States.
The Mersons of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma entered with this mass exodus into the United States some time before 1902 through Harry Merson. Harry arrived in New York, alone in 1902 and with little more possessions than he could carry. From there he followed the trail of an Aunt who, he heard had settled somewhere in Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma City, Merson found work as a typesetter at the Warden Print Shop. Although, at first he did not speak English, he could recognize different letters. By 1907, he had saved enough money to bring his family to Oklahoma, and to open his own dry goods store in Okmulgee. He returned to Oklahoma City in 1909 and opened a store in the Capitol Hill district.
Herman Merson, Harry's son, had a law office in the same building which housed the Merson store. Unfortunately, Herman's law office was torched and burned in 1985. The fire destroyed one of the most immense legal libraries in the State of Oklahoma.
Harry Merson was an educated man. He spoke Russian which was unique because Jews of the Pale were cutoff from the Russian cultural and intellectual life, and generally spoke only Yiddish. He came from Odessa, where he had worked as a printer. Odessa, at the time, was a center of Jewish intellectual ferment.
With this brief overview of the Mersons history, the start of a Merson family research is now in progress. Through the available technology in the genealogy arena including databases and the Internet, the research will be ongoing. Please look at the Family Tree and accompanying information. Feel free to contact me with questions and contributions to the research at: