Nathan Benjamin Appel: 1st Jewish Pioneer Settler in the Arizona Territory

Nathan Benjamin Appel 


Nathan B. Appel, 1880's, Tucson, AZ, #WS1208

Nathan B. Appel, 1880’s, Tucson, AZ,

Values Codes I – E – L


Nathan Benjamin Appel was born in 1828 Hochstadt am Main, Hesse Cassel, Germany.                                                                                                                                                                             

Along the way

Nathan Benjamin Appel first arrived in America, probably in New York, while a teenager – traveling alone.

He found his way to St. Louis, then rode the Sante Fe Trail to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and on to Socorro, Mexico.

During his lifetime he moved his family and dealings as Apaches and the Civil War permitted. 


Nathan Benjamin Appel operated a dramshop in Mesilla, New Mexico, for five years with a partner, Charles A. Hoppin.


Arizona Territory

Nathan Benjamin Appel arrived in Tucson, Arizona in 1856 — but soon moved on again.


Appel was a wagon-master, a merchant, a legislator and a lawman.

In 1858, he opened his Tubac store — one of the first in the Arizona Territory



In 1864, Nathan Benjamin Appel became Representative to the 1st Territorial Legislature (one term)

Arizona Territory Seal

In 1883, he became Tucson Police Department’s Deputy US Marshall, of Pima County and Deputy Sheriff.

From 1887 -1901, Appel was policeman & bailiff for the Los Angeles Police force. (He moved to Los Angeles in 1887.)



Appel was a Mason for 50 years, Los Angeles Lodge #42, according to his obituary.



Nathan Benjamin Appel married Victoria Torres  in 1852.

Nathan Appel in Los Angeles, 1900's, in Police Uniform, #WS1209

Nathan Appel in Los Angeles, 1900’s, in Police Uniform,

She was Catholic. They separated around 1887.



Together they had ten children. Seven survived Nathan: Mrs. P. B. Soto of Wilcox, AZ., Mrs. Charles M. Renaud of Pierce, AZ, and Mrs. James O. Carr of Schenectady, NY, plus four sons.


Nathan Benjamin Appel passed away in 1901 at St. Agnes’ Hospital in Los Angeles.

He was buried in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, where Rabbi Abraham M. Edelman led Masonic services.



  • Blaine P. Lamb, “Fifty-four Years on the Southwest Frontier: Nathan Benjamin Appel in New Mexico,” Western States Jewish History 16/2

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Regina Merwin is the Curator for this Nathan Benjamin Appel Exhibit.