Meyer Gradwohl, Early Jewish Merchant of Mokelumne Hill, California

Meyer Gradwohl

Values Codes I-E-L 


Meyer Gradwohl was born in 1828, in Alsace, France.

Around 1858, Meyer Gradwohl arrived in San Francisco, California.

He and his wife, Frederique, were naturalized as U.S. citizens soon after.


Mokelumne Hill

In 1860, Meyer Gradwohl and his family moved to Mokelumne Hill, California, where they lived with his in-laws.

In 1861, Meyer Gradwohl and his brother-in-law, Isaac Blum, opened a general merchandise store on Main Street.

They also filed a mining claim together in 1868.

In 1863 and 1865, Meyer Gradwohl filed several mining claims in Calaveras County.

In 1874, Meyer Gradwohl bought one of Gustave Danielewicz’s stores in Mokelumne Hill, California.

The store, a former saloon run by Harris Coleman, became a furniture shop, where Gradwohl also sold pianos and watches.

That same year, Mokelumne Hill suffered a major fire that destroyed Gradwohl’s original store on Main Street.

Since the Danielewicz store was constructed from stone, it survived the fire.


In 1876, Meyer Gradwohl entered into a partnership with Charles Jacob (of Bavaria).  Theirs was a dry goods and grocery shop.

By 1887, the partnership ended and Charles Jacob retained ownership of the store until 1900.


Around 1878, Meyer Gradwohl and his family moved to San Francisco.

There he joined Morris Cohen in a butcher shop partnership.

They opened a branch of the store in the Bay City Market at 1146 Market Street.



Meyer Gradwohl was a member of the Mokelumne Masonic Lodge #31 of Calavaras, County.

He served as Treasurer.



In 1858, Meyer Gradwohl married Frederique Blum (b. 1830) in San Francisco.

They had three children: David (d. 1861), Maurice (b. 1859) and David (b.1862; named for his deceased elder brother).


Meyer Gradwohl died in 1900 in San Francisco.

Frederique Gradwohl died in 1905.

They are both buried in the Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma, California.

Mokelumne Hill Plaque

Mokelumne Hill Historical Plaque

“Mokelumne is an Indian word first applied to the nearby river. Earlest settlement at Happy Valley by French trappers. Gold discovered by discharged members of Stevenson’s Regiment in 1848. Center of richest placer mining section of Calaverus County and one of the principal mining towns of California.

“Corral Flat produced over thity millions in gold. Sixteen feet square constituted a claim. So-called French War for possession of gold mines occurred in 1851.

“Calavaras Chronicle established in 1858.”‘Fights between grizzly bears and bulls amused early residents. At one time headquarters of Joaquin Murietm.

‘Town destroyed by fire in 1854, 1864, and 1874.

“County Seat of Calervarus County from 1853 to 1866.

“Erected by Calarvarus County Chamber of Commerce.

“Dedicated by Native Daughters of the Golden West, June 1933.”



For more information see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • The Danielewicz Store of Mokelumne Hill, California, by Victoia Fisch, Vol. 44, #1 – Includes photos by permission from Mokelumne Hill Historical Society


Samantha Silver is our Curator for this Meyer Gradwohl Exhibit.