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June 2014

 — June reminds us the the ‘season’ is definitely over. Hurricane season has officially begun and the hot days, and humid nights drag on for then next six months or so.

This month marks the birthday of Jesse Sears Teed, father of Cyrus, but instead of featuring those ‘known’ Koreshans, we thought we would, once again highlight some of the lesser know members of the Unity. We, once again, feature a somewhat obscure Koreshan who, although his time with the Unity was somewhat short, had a major impact, at least on the infrastructure of the Unity. His name was Richard Jentsch ((Richard Jentsch geneaology)) , born in Germany on the 8th of June, 1883. He came to Estero in 1906. It is unclear how long before that time he had been a member of the Unity.

He was a member of the Unity Orchestra, and this grainy photo is all that we have of him. His claim to fame came in 1906, shortly after his arrival when he took part in the “fight” in Fort Myers when Dr. Teed was struck by Sheriff Sanchez and arrested. Jentsch was a part of it. According to historian Elliot Mackle, writing in the “Florida Historical Quarterly”:

“A crowd quickly gathered around the four men. The train had by that time arrived, and the Baltimore party, escorted by the mayor of Estero and by a young Koreshan named Richard Jentsch, had begun walking toward a hotel in the center of town. Upon meeting the crowd they recognized Dr. Teed. Jentsch sprang forward to defend his messiah, and was followed almost immediately by the three Koreshan boys in his charge-Claude Rahn (( Claude Rahn geneaology)), Roland Sander (( Roland Sander geneaology>)), and George Danner. ((George Danner genealogy))

Jentsch struck Sellers and was then himself struck down by blows from the crowd. Claude Rahn, trying to separate Sellers and Dr. Teed, was hit in the mouth by a stranger. George Danner, seeing this, ran forward, kicked Rahn’s attacker, and then retreated. The man yelled, “Grab the kid.” Someone did, and Danner was knocked into the crowd.”

Jentsch is better known in the Historic Site as a member of the Koreshan Orchestra and an active member of the theatre troupe. He eventually left the Koreshan Unity and got married to a fellow Koreshan, Cecile Read Woodruff, who, according to the records we have, was almost forty years his senior. Jentsch died on April 14, 1915, just four months prior to his wife, who died in August of 1915.

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Odds and Ends:
We are always on the lookout for items on the Internet related to the Koreshans. Of course, a search for Koresh always turns up the Waco incident and David Koresh. However, we recently ran across this:
The Koresh Dance Company which has nothing to do the Cyrus Teed, Communal Living or Religion. Turns out the dance comapny was formed by a gentleman name Roni Koresh an immigrant from Israel. The dance company is located in Philadelphia.

Categories: Monthly Feature.

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