STREET SMARTS

Street Smarts: Once member of Confederate army, Drachman prospered as tobacconist

2013-05-21T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T15:34:35Z Street Smarts: Once member of Confederate army, Drachman prospered as tobacconistDavid Leighton For The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Samuel Harris Drachman was born in Poland to Harris and Rebecca Drachman in 1837 and spent his early years there.

At age 18, he boarded a ship for America and landed in New York, where he spent some time. His next stop was Charleston, S.C.

In Charleston, he joined the Confederate army (some sources say under the name Samuel Harris) and served as a major on the staff of General P.G.T. Beauregard.

After a short visit to San Francisco, he arrived by stagecoach on Sept. 4, 1867, in Tucson, then a town of maybe 1,000 people.

He later set himself up in the tobacco and cigar trade, and when his business grew he expanded with a location in Phoenix. For the rest of his life he prospered, becoming one of the most significant businessmen of Pima County.

Drachman exchanged vows in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 17, 1875, with Jennie Migel, a Russian immigrant. They had several children, including Herbert, who also has a Tucson street named after him - Herbert Avenue.

Drachman served in the seventh Arizona Territorial Legislature and also on the Tucson City Council. During his nine years as school trustee, Tucson High School was built (it originally was housed in the building that is now home to Roskruge Bilingual K-8 school). He was the namesake for Drachman school.

He was a charter member of the Arizona Historical Society, and the Masonic Order of Tucson. A devout Jew, he performed rituals in Hebrew at religious ceremonies such as weddings, since there were no rabbis in Tucson or Phoenix until the 1900s.

Samuel Drachman died at 75 on Dec. 26, 1911. At the time of his death, he lived at 344 E. University Blvd.

Mose Drachman of Lee, Drachman & Pryce real estate firm named Drachman Street in the early 1900s.

A Tucson Citizen article dated June 21, 1919, states the following: "Among persons ... whose names have been given streets are Drachman Street, for Sam Drachman and his descendants, with whom Tucson probably always will be supplied."

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Listen to a podcast of Street Smarts writer David Leighton on "The Fred and Jeff Show," http://fredandjeff.com/

Sources: Special thanks to graduating Tanque Verde High School senior Sam Drachman, great, great, great, grandnephew of Samuel Drachman. Floyd Fierman, "The Drachmans of Arizona," American Jewish Archives, November 1964 James H. McClintock, "Arizona Prehistoric - Aboriginal Pioneer Modern. The Nation's Youngest Commonwealth," SJ Clarke Publishing, 1916. Roy P. Drachman, "A Personal Item," Realty Digest, April 1960 "Old Tucson Fast Disappearing Will Be Perpetuated in the Names of City Streets," Tucson Daily Citizen, June 21,1919 "Reaper Calls S.H. Drachman to Great Beyond," Arizona Daily Star, December 1911 Bonnie Henry, "Paying Respect: Sons of Confederate Veterans members honor Tucson pioneer Samuel Drachman," Arizona Daily Star, May 2007 The First Hundred Years of TUSD: www.tusd.k12.az.us/CONTENTS/distinfo/history/history106.asp Each week the Star tells the stories behind Tucson street names. If you have streets to suggest or stories to share, contact writer David Leighton at streetsmarts@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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