Early Pioneer Jews of Davenport, Iowa


Early Pioneer Jews of Davenport, Iowa


Robert Krause, the brother of William Krause of Des Moines, was an early, successful merchant in Davenport.

Robert married Louisa Steinhilber of West Virginia in 1860.

Together they had two daughters.


Henry Abel was the second known Jew in Davenport.


Jewish-run businesses listed in 1860

Nathan Billstein, dry goods

Fleishman, clothing 

Haas & Meyer, wholesale dry goods

Solomon Hersgberg, dry goods

Samuel Heinsfurter, dry goods

Robert Krause, clothing

Alex Lederer, dry goods

Joseph Levy, dry goods

Leopold Lowenstein, clothing

John Ochs, real estate

Raphel & Feder, clothing

G. Rosenberger, watchmaking

S. K. Stone, clothing

Abraham Straus, clothing

The Davenport Ferry, Vintage Postcard

The Davenport Ferry, Vintage Postcard

During the  Civil War

Michael Raphael was appointed Horse Inspector by the Federal Government.

Michael Raphael was born in 1837, in Oberslessing, Prussia.

He arrived in Davenport in 1853, worked as a peddler for four years, and then opened his own store

Raphael soon partnered in Feder & Raphael Wholesale Grocers.

He became a leading citizen of Davenport, and was the first Jew to hold a federal office in Iowa.

After the Civil War, Michael Raphael was a wholesaler and paymaster of Northwestern Railroad in Iowa.


John Ochs created a successful Real Estate Land Agency.

John Ochs of Davenport

John Ochs of Davenport

He was born in Nordsteden, Germany in 1811, and arrived in Davenport in 1854.

Ochs purchased the land for the Jewish cemetery

He died in 1880.


Lippen Ochs was appointed Commissioner of Emigration for Germany by the Governor of Iowa in 1871.

He headquartered in Hamburg, Germany for a year, where he “boosted” the benefits of Iowa.

Ochs was then appointed to represent Iowa in the Eastern states. He headquartered in New York City with the job of bringing immigrants to Iowa.


M. Feder was the first Jewish “Minister,” and led religious services.


A. Rothschild was born in Eberstadt, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, in 1852.

He arrived in Davenport and created D. Rothsschild Grain Co. with his uncles.

Rothschild was a Trustee of Cleveland Orphan Home.

He also served as President of B’nai Israel Congregation of Davenport.



  • Simon Glazer, The Jews in Iowa (Des Moines, IA: Koch, 1904).