Table of Contents

My Los Angeles Family

By Ronald Barnett


My grandparents, Frieda Friedberg and Morris Schloss, came to Los Angeles in 1909. They were both born in Latvia. My grandfather, Morris Schloss (pictured above in 1909 on the lower step), was a conductor on the Pacific Electric Line and they lived on the corner of 9th St. and Broadway.

My mother graduated from California Commercial College in 1921 and her brother Henry Schloss graduated from the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy.

My grandmotherís sister Dora Friedberg married Abraham Saylin. His older brother Isaac Saylin graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and came to Los Angeles in 1899 with the Santa Fe Railroad. Aunt Dora, Abraham and their daughter Marcella came to live with Dr. Isaac Saylin and his wife Marie in El Monte after 1900. Marcella graduated from Lexington School in El Monte, the first public school in California south of the Tehachapi Mountains. Their son Ralph was born in El Monte and Graduated from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in 1939.

Isaacís wife died when their wood burning stove exploded. There are two streets in Highland Park named for them, Saylin Lane and Marie Lane, dedicated in 1905. Isaac and Marie had two sons, Joseph and David. Joseph became a physician and David a dentist. Joseph became the head of the Venice Chamber of Commerce in 1931 and later the physician for the Santa Monica Police Dept.

Isaacís second wife, my Aunt Emma, came to Los Angeles in 1898 from St. Louis. She came to live with an Aunt and Uncle, Mr. and Mrs. David Bonoff and graduated from Los Angeles High School in the class of Winter, 1901. David Bonoff was the first furrier in Los Angeles at 247 S. Broadway. The Bonoffs purchased 160 acres in Hollywood in 1903 from Don Eugenio Plummer (for whom Plummer Park is named} for $2500. They sold it in 1905 for $5000 and it is now known as The Hollywood Bowl.

Abrahamís middle brother was George Saylin. He graduated from the Buffalo School of Medicine in 1910 and came to Los Angeles in 1922. Among many other things he was the founder of the Jewish Home for Wayfarers. Abraham Saylin graduated from the University of Southern Califonia School of Medicine in 1915.

My father, Morris Barnett, was born in London, and came to Los Angeles in 1920 . He became a boxer in London and fought under the name of Kid Jackson.. He was inducted into the British Army in 1916. He was constantly derided because of anti-Semitism. When he was denied his leave to see his family before being sent to France he deserted the Army. His sister, fearing he would be shot for desertion, purchased some false Russian papers as anyone born in Russia was exempt from the British Army. He was stopped by Scotland Yard and asked why he wasnít in the Army. He showed his Russian papers and they said he could go back to Russia and join the Russian Army as they were both fighting the Germans.

He was put on the next supply ship to Murmansk in the Arctic Ocean. The Russian Revolution had taken place and the Civil War was in progress. Morrie spent fourteen months traveling along the Tran-Siberian Railroad through Siberia, Manchuria and ended in Yokohama, Japan. He was befriended by a few Canadian soldiers who gave him a Canadian uniform. He boarded a Canadian ship that returned the soldiers to Canada. He received a wedding invitation from a man in Seattle whom he had met in Yokohama and crossed the border. He then came to Los Angeles and opened the Empire Cleaners and Dyers on 4th St. and Spring Street.

He later met and married my mother and, later, became vice president of my company, R.A. Barnett & Co., importers of steel products. He returned to England after 41 years and his father was still living at the age of 91.



Ronald  A. Barnett, The Reluctant Tourist, Writer's Showcase, 2001.

Ronald A. Barnett was born in San Fernando, CA. He was educated at U.C.L.A (B.A. in Political Science) and at the University of Southern California (MA in International Relations). He was an instructor of International Economics at U.C.L.A and was president of R.A. Barnett & CO for 38 years - Importer of Steel Products.


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