Arnold Friedberger Family: Early Jewish Pioneer Merchants in Stockton and the Gold Country of California

Arnold Friedberger

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Arnold Friedberger was born in Laupheim, Germany, in 1830.


Along the way . . .

In 1848, Arnold Friedberger went to Paris to learn the millinery trade.

In 1852, he left for the United States after hearing about the Gold Rush in California.


California Gold Country

Around 1857, Arnold Friedberger headed West, where he settled in California.

First, he opened a general merchandise store in Sheep Ranch.

Then, he opened another store in San Andreas.

In 1882, Arnold Friedberger and his family moved to Stockton.

In 1889, Friedberger sold his stores in Sheep Ranch and San Andreas.

He opened a new, larger store at Sacramento and Elm Streets in Lodi with his brother-in-law, M.L. Kaiser.

They named their store Friedberger & Kaiser General Store. The store remained at this location until 1935.

Arnold Friedberger spoke English and German, which was helpful for talking with the German farmers who had moved to the area from North Dakota.

Friedberger also worked as a Wells Fargo agent in Sheep Ranch, San Andreas and Lodi, even riding shotgun on the stage.

He invested in several mining operations with other businessmen, including the father of William Randolph Hearst.



Lotta Kaiser Friedberger helped found the Women’s Benevolent Society in Stockton, California.



Arnold Friedberger was a member of the San Andreas Lodge of the Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Stockton Royal Arch Masons, and the Mokelumne Hill Encampment of the Odd Fellows.



In 1867, Arnold Friedberger married Lotta Kaiser.

Together, they had six children: Leo (1869-1950), Alexander (1870-1953), Maurice (1871-1959), Joseph (1873-1896), Raphy “Ray” (1877-1936), and William (1886-1978).

Dr. William Friedberger ran the San Joaquin County General Hospital from 1912- to 1942.

Alexander Friedberger and George Kaiser (M. L.’s son) took over the management of the family’s general store in 1901.

In 1935, Alexander relocated the store to 6 N. School Street. His daughter, Irma, helped turn the general merchandise store into a women’s clothing store.

Leo Friedberger ran a general store in Clements.

Maurice and Ray Friedberger owned a jewelry store in Stockton.

Joe Friedberger owned a stationery store in Lodi.


Arnold Friedberger died in 1908.

Lotta Kaiser Friedberger died in 1909.

They are interred in Stockton Woodland Mausoleum in Stockton, California.

The Friedberger Memorial Fountain and park, across from the Calavaras County Building in San Andreas, is located where Friedberger’s store used to be.

The Friedberger Education Fund helps local students with scholarships.

The Arnold & Lotta Friedberger Fountain in San Andreas, California, #WS2518 #WS2518

The Arnold & Lotta Friedberger Fountain, San Andreas, California, #WS2518


  • Norton B. Stern, “Report on an interview with Dr. William Friedberger,” Western States Jewish History 41/4.
  • Ralph Lea and Christi Kennedy, “Lasting Impression: Friedberger family left their mark on Lodi,” Lodi News Sentinel, October 9, 2002.

Samantha Silver is curator of this Friedberger exhibit.