Elias & Lyon Levy
Father and son: alike but different
Elias Levy (b. 1791), an official of the port of Charleston, lived here with his family (his wife, Rachel Moïse, bore him six children during twelve years of marriage, until her death in 1833). Like so many in this era, the family reflects the schism among Charleston’s Jews between religious reformers and traditionalists. Elias Levy’s father, Lyon Levy (1764–1835), had served as state treasurer from 1817 to 1822. Elias was a gauger, charged with measuring the contents of hogsheads of wine and other liquids subject to excise duty. Such items could not be imported or exported without the gauger’s certification.
Elias followed his father into public service, but father and son differed over religion. The elder was a member of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim’s conservative adjunta in 1820; though Elias had not joined the Reformed Society of Israelites in 1824 as his half-brothers Lyon and David Cardozo Levy had, Elias Levy was a reformer who supported the installation of an organ in the synagogue in 1840.