Moses Dinkelspiel: Jewish Pioneer Merchant and Philanthropist in the California Gold Country

Moses Dinkelspiel Gold Country

Moses Dinkelspiel of the California Gold Country

Moses Dinkelspiel of the California Gold Country

Values Codes I – H – E – L – P


Moses Dinkelspiel was born in Gemmingen, Baden, Germany in 1826.

He was a soldier in the King’s Guards, but he rebelled in early 1848 and was forced to flee to France.

On the 4th of July, in 1848, Moses Dinkelspiel landed in New York City.


Along the way

For the next four years, Moses Dinkelspiel engaged in business around the city.

Gold fever seized him and he headed West to San Francisco, via the Isthmus.


California Gold Country

In partnership with Ferdinand Walter, Jacob, and Bernard Schweitzer, he established a dry goods business in Campo Secowhich continued until 1856.

He them moved to Suisun City (halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento), to engage in the merchandise business for the rest of his life.

One of Dinkelspiel's General Stores, #WS2510

One of Dinkelspiel’s general stores, Vallecito, CA< #WS2510


In 1895, Governor Budd appointed Moses Dinkelspiel as a Trustee of the San Jose Normal School.

For 25 years he was vice-president and director of the Bank of Suisunpresident of the Chamber of Commerceand secretary and treasurer of the Stewart Fruit Company.

Moses Dinkelspiel served as a City Supervisor for sixteen years, acting as chairman of the board for most of that time.

A Republican, Dinkelspiel attended almost every Republican State Convention from 1860 to 1890.



Moses Dinkelspiel was a member of Temple Emanu-El of San Francisco.



Dinkelspiel was a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows for over 40 years.

He was also a Mason and served as Master of Suisun Lodge #55, F.&A.M. in 1867



In 1856, Moses Dinkelspiel married Miss Lena Manger.

Together, they had five children: Mrs. David Eisner, Edward, Meyer, Carrie, and Henry.

 “Moses Dinkelspiel was known for his works of charity and his sterling character.  His word was his bond.” 

— Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916


  • Martin A. Meyer, The Jews of San Francisco (San Francisco: Emanu-El, 1916).
  • Fred Rosenbaum, Visions of Reform, Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco, 1849-1999 (Berkeley: Judah L. Magnus Museum, 2000).

David Epstein is curator of this Moses Dinkelspiel exhibit.