Chapter 1 The Family Page I of III
My grandfather, Philip Drachman, first was in Tucson when he passed through here on his way to visit his sister in San Bernardino, California in 1854, the first year which Tucson was a part of the United States. The portion of Arizona lying south of the Gila River was acquired by the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico through an act of Congress on December 30, 1853.
Monte Mansfeld, a native Tucsonan, told me that he had some records among his family's papers which stated that Philip Drachman was in Tucson in 1857.
I have a letter written me by the late Senator Carl Hayden, dated May 16, 1960, stating, "In the 1864 census records of La Paz, Arizona Territory I have found, 'Drachman, Philip, age 30, resident in the Territory one year, occupation, merchant, value of property, $5,000, place of birth, Poland'."
His letter continued with information regarding another early pioneer, "Michael Goldwater, age 42, a native of Poland, is listed as having been there two years as a merchant with property valued at $15,000."
La Paz at that time was the county seat of Yuma County, and was a mining community of considerable importance.
It appears that no one knows for certain when Philip Drachman became a permanent resident of Tucson. We do know that Philip and his brother, Sam, were in Tucson in the early 1860s.
Philip was born in Piotrkow, Poland, a small village approximately 75 miles southwest of Warsaw on July 4, 1833. (When I told someone this once, he said, "All Poles were born in a little village near Warsaw.") Sam was born in 1835. Poland at that time was ruled by Russia. The Drachman family, like most Polish families, was poor. Their country had been a battleground of the adjoining nations for many generations. What one army failed to take, the other had. Poland was a third rate nation without its own armed forces.
When these two boys were growing up they were destined, as all Polish boys were, to be Russian soldiers when they reached the age of thirteen. Conscription by the Russian army was a foregone conclusion. But Harris and Rebecca Drachman were determined that their two sons would somehow avoid service in the army of the hated Russians. For two or three years before Philip reached the age when he would be picked up by the Russians, they planned his escape. Families in the area often spirited their male off-spring out of the country to avoid service in the Czar's army.
The Drachman parents removed some floor boards from one of the rooms in their small home and began to dig by hand a cellar into which Philip could hide. At night they would carry the soil out of the house and spread it over the ground so it would not be noticed. This went on for months and months until they had a place to hide their oldest son, who was soon approaching the age of conscription.
When the Russians came looking for Philip they were told by the parents that he had run away. He was actually hiding in his cellar room where he lived, beneath the floor of his home, for many months while arrangements were made to send both Phillip and Sam to England and eventually on to the United States.
Philip had health problems most of his adult life, and he felt that they stemmed from the months he spent in the damp hole underneath his home. It was said that he first came to Arizona for the warm, dry climate. Thus he may have been Tucson's first health seeker!
An article regarding early pioneers in Arizona stated:
"Philip Drachman and Michael and Joseph Goldwater, bearers of two family names destined to help shape the state of Arizona, traveled steerage to New York in 1852. Mike was later to become the godfather of Philip's first son, Harry Arizona Drachman. The Goldwaters went to California, and Philip left for Philadelphia, where relatives had assured him that he could find employment as a tailor.
The Goldwaters settled in Phoenix and Prescott. They operated stores which sold all kinds of things at first but eventually specialized in "soft" goods, and particularly fashions for milady.
The second and third generation Goldwaters and Drachman have remained friends throughout their lives. Some members of each family have been close friends while others hardly know each other. After all, the number of offspring has increased to the point where they can be counted by the score. In both Phoenix and Tucson the Goldwaters and the Drachmans have been very active in the business and social life of their respective communities. And Barry, of course, has been prominently involved in the political life of his city, his state and nation.
In 1868 Philip decided he should be married. He traveled to Baltimore and then to New York City where on April 21,1868 he married Rosa Katzenstein of Baltimore.
An article which appeared in the Arizona Daily Star in 1960 quoted from a letter written years before by Rosa Drachman, my grandmother.
"We started for Tucson on May 1, 1868 from New York City on a steamer named 'Arizona.' We arrived in Aspinwall, Panama, and crossed the Isthmus in wagons, and on the other side boarded another steamer named 'Senator.' "We arrived in San Francisco on May 23,1868 and remained there two weeks before taking a steamer for Los Angeles, arriving there four days later.
Philip Drachman operated several businesses in Tucson during the 1860s and '70s. He owned a transportation company hauling goods in and out of Tucson between Lordsburg, N.M. to the east, and San Diego to the west. This company also operated "hacks" or carriages for transporting people around Tucson.
Philip also had contracts with the U.S. government to furnish hay and other goods to the army. To meet an army contract to furnish hay to Camp Grant, northeast of Tucson, Drachman and his partner, Isaac Goldberg, in 1870 sent eighty men to cut hay in the San Pedro Valley. In March of that year, their wagon train, loaded with supplies for the haying crew, was attacked by Apache Indians. The assault was made a little after sunrise at Canada del Oro, on the western side of the Catalina Mountains. An account of the attack stated that "Angel Ortiz, the wagon master, was killed and that the sixty Apaches captured the members of the haying crew who had not been killed in the fray."
Drachman and Goldberg filed claims against the government to recover funds to compensate them for their losses, but for some reason they waited until 1888. Their case dragged through the courts until 1903 when it was dismissed by the Court of Claims.
Philip also operated a store for a while, opened a saloon in 1881, owned a cigar store, and, of course, operated his transportation company. Philip Drachman teamed his freight from Yuma by mule train. In the '60s and '70s Tucson's prospect of a railroad was still much of dream, freight shipped from the east rounded the Horn to San Francisco, was back-hauled around the Peninsula of Lower California to a point near Puerta Isabel, Sonora. Transferred there to paddle steamers of the Colorado River Navigation Co., it was cargoed to Yuma, where Philip loaded it in his wagons and hauled it to Tucson, provided he was not intercepted and looted by the Apaches. The five hundred mile round trip with his long eared mules was quite an ordeal but necessary for the survival of Tucson.
He died in 1889 when his youngest child, Phyllis, was one year old. Rosa raised the ten children without benefit of indoor plumbing, running water, electric lights, gas stoves, air conditioning or even wooden floors, which were a luxury she could afford only in the last home she occupied in Tucson.
After the death of their father, the three older boys were the sole support of the family. Harry worked at Steinfeld's store where he learned the mercantile business and especially the shoe business. He later operated his own shoe store for many years.
Mose, the second son, worked at odd jobs but soon became the travelling salesman for the Arbuckle Coffee Co. for southern Arizona. Emanuel went to work at the blacksmith shop at the Southern Pacific Railroad yards.
There were seven other children in the family. In the order of their birth they were Rebecca, Myra, Albert, Minnie, Lillian, Esther and Phyllis. None of them remained in Tucson after reaching adulthood.
None of the older boys finished grade school. Minnie, Lillian, Phyllis and Esther finished the eighth grade at the "Big School," the Safford. Myra not only finished her schooling here but also graduated from the Los Angeles Normal School which later became the University of California at Los Angeles. She taught school most of her life, first at Terminal Island near Los Angeles, one year in Tucson and then for over thirty years at the old Pine Street School in Long Beach, California.
Lillian attended for one year the Preparatory School run by the University of Arizona as a three-year high school to fill the gap between grade school and college which existed here until some time later when the local school system established a high school. Lillian worked in a local retail store for about a year. Esther worked for the Arizona Eastern Railroad as a secretary for several years.
Rebecca finished the eighth grade and then helped her mother run the household. When she was about twenty years old, Rebecca together with her mother and sisters Lillian, Minnie and Phyllis went east to visit Rosa's sister, Sarah, who had married Mose Vogel and lived in Baltimore. While on the east coast, Becky visited New York City and met Sol Breslauer, whom she later married. He was a widower with two daughters.
Mother Drachman and her daughters remained in the east for almost a year, during which time they visited Rosa's other sister, Caroline, who had married Hiram Groves and lived in Maseville, West Virginia, about thirty miles from Kaiserville.
Rosa's name was Katzenstein and her family lived in Baltimore. One of her two brothers, Samuel, followed her west and married Freda Steinfeld, Albert's sister. They had four children, three girls and a boy, all born in Tucson. Sam Katzenstein was quite a character and was a real swinger, playing a concertina with which he entertained his children and nieces as well as his bar room friends. He deserted the family, moved to Mexico and lived with a native of the country for the rest of his days.
His family moved to Los Angeles where they lived out their lives. They were delightful people and were quite close to their Drachman cousins who likewise lived in Los Angeles.
After her husband Phillip died, Rosa and her children continued to live in the same house on South Main Street for four years until they bought a house from a Mr. McCormack, on the corner of Main and McCormack, 233 South Main Street.
In the early years of this century her six younger children moved to Los Angeles where she joined them in 1909. None of her six daughters nor her son, Albert, ever had children. All of the many Drachman's who now or formerly resided in Tucson were offspring of the three older boys and their cousin, Herbert.
When Rosa Drachman died in Los Angeles in July 1918 one of the Tucson newspapers stated, "Mrs. Rosa Drachman, the grand old mother of the Drachman boys, who died in California, was brought back to the town she loved so well for burial. Mrs. Drachman was beloved by all who knew her. She raised a large family of children and they are among the most progressive and respected of our citizens. There never was a better woman than mother Drachman."
Mose, the first of his generation to take a wife, married Ethel Edmonds who came to Tucson as a school teacher. He was twenty-six years old, Ethel a bit older. They had three children, Rosemary, Phillip and Oliver. Rosemary gained a bit of fame for her book-play-movie, Chicken Every Sunday. Phillip lived much of his adult life in Evansville, Indiana.
Harry married Florence Cowan, also a school teacher who came here with her family from South Carolina in 1902. Harry was thirty four when he married and had five children: Cowan, Byron, Oscar, Allen and Rosalee. Only Cowan remained in Tucson although Rosalee lives in Winkleman, Arizona.
My father, Emanuel, married when he was thirty three. He was operating the Elysian Grove, an amusement park, and became acquainted with my mother, Millie Royers, a young singer booked by a Los Angeles booking agent to appear at my father's airdome, an outdoor theatre in the Grove. There were three boys in our family, I and my two younger brothers, Frank and Albert. Albert didn't live in Tucson long, moving to Los Angeles, near where he lives now.
Sam Drachman, Philip's younger brother, lived in Tucson for the rest of his life. He married Jennie Miguel, who like her husband was born in Russia. They had four children, Herbert, Myrtle, Lucille and Sol, who died when he was in his early twenties. Herbert moved to San Francisco where he lived for many years before returning here in 1916 with his wife, Eda, and his step son Dick. He operated a real estate brokerage and insurance office for the balance of his life. His firm was known as Herbert Drachman Realty and Insurance Co. It later was known as Drachman-Grant Co.
Sam was a well known Tucsonan, having operated a men's club, really a cigar store and pool hall, at the tip of the "Wedge" which divided Congress street starting at Stone avenue and running west. The "Wedge" was removed right after the turn of the century and Sam's place moved to the south side of Congress street about a half block west of Stone. I remember visiting him there on several occasions with my dad.
Sam lived with his family on South Main Street about a block south of Congress but later built a fine home on the southwest corner of Third Street and North Fourth Avenue. It later became the Sigma Chi fraternity house. Sam died there in 1910.