Maurice Mordecai Samuel: Jewish Pioneer Fur Trader and Civil War Army Officer of Early Minnesota

Maurice Mordecai Samuel

Values I – E – L


Maurice Mordecai Samuel was born in London, England.


Along the way . . .

In 1844, Samuel worked as a traveling peddler and fur trader in Prairie du Chien, Minnesota.

In 1846, he moved to Chippewa country, where he ran a bowling alley, then called a “ball alley.”

In 1861, Samuel formed the St. Croix Rifles and fought in the Civil War as a Captain.

St. Croix Rifles Co. Adv. Minnesota 1860's

St. Croix Rifles Co. Adv. Minnesota 1860’s


“The St. Croix Rifles, Company F, First Regiment Wis. Volunteers, now at Camp Scott held a meeting yesterday morning at which Lieut. Vincent, on behalf of the company, presented Captain M. M. Samuels, commanding, with an elegant sword.  The presentation was accompanied by appropriate speeches, that were received with enthusiasm by the company.  Lieut. Vincent said:

‘Capt. M. M. Samuels: In behalf of the St. Croix Rifles I am delegated to present to you this sword, as a testimonial of our regard, and of our confidence in you as an efficient and able commander, confidently believing it will never be dishonored in the service of our country, and that it will lead us on gallantly to battle for the right—and to victory.’

After which three cheers and ‘big Injun’ were given for the cause to which all loyalists are devoted.”

— The Hudson North Star, October 23, 1861

In 1862, the St. Croix government appointed Samuel Agent to the Chippewa Tribe.

Around 1865, he moved to New Orleans.



Around 1846, Maurice Mordecai Samuel married an Indian woman.

Maurice Mordecai Samuel died in 1884 in Winfield, Kansas.



  • W. Gunther Plaut, The Jews in Minnesota: The First Seventy-Five Years (New York: American Jewish Historical Society, 1959).

Samantha Silver is curator for this Maurice Mordecai Samuel exhibit.