Shugaevsky Family

Part 17    Remington Arms

Bridgeport Connecticut

Click on images to enlarge.

When I finally walked over to the local library to access Ancestry.com, I found a record for a Mark Terbey in the 1916 Bridgeport Connecticut directory. I was surprised to find that it includes the person's occupation.  “Terbey, Mark insp R A & A Co bds 36 Wayne” translates as Mark Terbey, an inspector for Remington Arms and Ammunition Co. who boards at 36 Wayne Street.

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Detail from page 885 of the 1916 Bridgeport Directory.

Perhaps the Remington Arms and Ammunition Co. liked to recruit employees recently discharged from the army or Marcus made some connection with the company while he was in the army. I once joked that Marcus made his money as an arms dealer – now it looks like more of a possibility (more incriminating evidence to come).

In the 1917 Bridgeport Directory there is a listing for “Leovich” Shugaevsky but none for Marcus Terbey. In handwriting, an “n” can look like a “v”, and if the circle on a “d” is not closed, it looks like a  “c” with another letter after it.  I believe that Leonid's handwriting in Roman script must have been hard to read, so that when he submitted his entry for the directory it was misread (or else it was another person's bad handwriting). In the directory, “Leovich” is a laborer who lives in a house at 815 North Ave which is about a 20 minute walk from 36 Wayne Street.

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Detail from page 958 of the 1917 Bridgeport Directory.

On another visit to the library I found one more listing for “Leovich” Shugaevsky, this time in the 1918 Bridgeport Directory (image below). “rem to Russia” means removed to Russia. So “Leovich” has gone back home. And in fact “Leovich”, or Marcus, did go back to Russia that year but we are getting ahead of ourselves. We need to finish up with 1916.

1918 Bridgeport Directory detail.jpg
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Bridgeport is marked on this satellite image. Sandy Hook where Fort Hancock was can be seen near the lower left. Remington was an important supplier to the US military. The company also produced arms for the other WWI Allies.

Map image: Google maps

STOP THE PRESS!

In this business no stone can be safely left unturned. While doing some editing I remembered, “Oh, I didn’t research Remington Arms and Ammunition Company.” It has a lot of interesting history of historical importance and one bit that may be very important to our story. Details from the Wikipedia article, Remington Arms  below.

Late in the war, the collapse of the Imperial Russian government had a severe effect on Remington finances. Russia had ordered large quantities of arms and ammunition, but ran short of money to pay for the orders. They delayed payment, arguing there were alleged defects in Remington products. When the Bolsheviks took power in the Russian Revolution, they repudiated the contract entirely.

Remington was left with huge stocks of guns and ammunition, and no prospects for payment. The U.S. government stepped up to purchase the firearms, thereby preventing Remington from absolute loss.

So why is this important? There was a big arms depot in Vladivostok. In 1918 Marcus took his first trip as US citizen. First he spent a few days in Japan and then…. Vladivostok. Later that year the US Army arrived to protect those arms. My jokes about Marcus being an arms dealer may not be far from the truth. It might also explain how he so quickly got financed for a long sojourn to Russia (where there just happened to be a civil war). The readers of this story can see why I spend so much time doing historical research. 

Now, back to where I left off.

1916 / Trying to send money to Russia

In 1916, the year Marcus became a U.S. citizen, World War I had been going on for one and a half years (the U.S. wouldn’t enter till a year later). In Russia, there was political unrest, the economy was in shambles and there were food shortages. Marcus/Leonid must have been in communication with his brother Valentin because he tried to send him money. 

I found the next few documents in my family’s papers. Marcus sent at least one check to his brother Valentin through The First-Bridgeport National Bank. Until I discovered that Marcus lived in Bridgeport I was confused about his choice of banks. As we will see further along, Valentin never received the money.

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1916 check receipts.jpeg

A duplicate of a bank check that Marcus sent to his brother Valentin ( to the right is a receipt (or “stub”) for that check and one other. The dates are August, 7, 1916 and October 18, 1916. I presume there was some communication between the brothers before any checks were sent.

The money was to be sent through the Russo-Asiatic bank in Petrograd (St. Petersburg). The Russo-Asiatic Bank was formed by the merger of two banks financed mostly by French investors. One was the Russo-Chinese Bank which financed the Chinese Eastern Railway and pretty much owned it till the Bolshevik Revolution.

 

The Russo-Asiatic Bank was based in St. Petersburg and had offices in Harbin and Shanghai among other places. It is curious why Valentin never received the money from his brother since they are dated before the Bolshevik revolution.

 

Enough history – let's get back to the story.

1917 / Revolution in Russia

Since there is a listing for “Leovich Shugaevsky” in the 1917 Bridgeport Directory I assume Marcus is still living and working there. In 1918 the directory indicates that he had left. We will see that in 1918 he was receiving mail in New York City. It is around this time he would have been reading news articles like the one below and thinking about his relatives in Russia.

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New York Times from March 16, 1917. Three weeks after this newspaper edition was published, the United States entered World War I, though it wasn’t till 1918 that the US played a major role militarily. The war ended November 11, 1918. By that date, Marcus was back in Russia.

Although Marcus must have had a decent command of English by this time, he was probably getting his news from the Russian language newspaper Novoye Russkoye Slovo (published in New York City from 1910 till 2010). This newspaper would have helped Leonid connect with the New York Russian community and probably had more specifics about the political situation in Russia. Later, when my grandfather, Valentin came to the US, he wrote articles for this paper. Copies are now available in the Library of Congress.

1918 / New York City / More About the Check

The letter below is a reply to a letter from the First-Bridgeport National Bank which is lost. Marcus asked the bank to stop payment on the original check (No.12096), and to pay on a duplicate that he must have had. I haven’t heard of a situation like this before. Although we do not know what was in the letter that Marcus received from the bank, it would appear that there was some problem with sending the original check. There is no information about the other check for which we only have a stub, No. 120940.

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Flatiron building,New York City, 1903. Marcus was receiving mail here in 1918

Image:Public Domain

This letter was a reply to one addressed to M. Ferbey, ℅ L. Shugaevsky. This is another occurrence of "Ferbey" being used instead of "Terbey".

Marcus sent this letter on January 28, 1918, over a year after the check was written, and after the Bolshevik Revolution. The Bolsheviks signed an Armistice with the Central Powers December 15, 1917 and signed a peace treaty March 3, 1918. Marcus left for Russia the next month. World War I on the western front wouldn't be over until November. Civil War in Russia would drag on for four more years.

There will be more letters about this check, but first we will follow Marcus as he returns to Russia.