Rosa Katzenstein Drachman: “Tough” Jewish Pioneer Woman of Tucson, Arizona

Rosa Katzenstein Drachman

Rosa Katzenstein Drachman and Philip Drachman, Tucson, Arizona Territory, WS#3752

Rosa Katzenstein Drachman and Philip Drachman, Tucson, Arizona Territory, WS#3752

Values Codes I – E – L


Rosa Katzenstein was born in Maryland in 1848

Rosa Katzenstein married Philip Drachman in New York City in 1868.

They headed west to Tucson, Arizona Territory.


Along the way 

Rosa Katzenstein Drachman and Philip Drachman boarded a steamer from New York City to Aspinwall, Panama.

They crossed the Isthmus on wagons and boarded another steamer, the Senator, arriving in San Francisco May, 1868. From there, they took another steamer south to Los Angeles.

Next, they took an all-day stage coach over very rough roads, arriving in San Bernardino on July, 1868.

In October 1868, they left for Tucson over rough roads, which Rosa described in her own memoir:

“We started for Tucson on October 21, 1868. We traveled in a four-horse ambulance, which was a relic of the Civil War.  We had provisions and camped out . . .  The first night we camped out I could not sleep on account of the howling of the coyotes. . . .Our bedding was spread on the ground and that is the way we slept. . . .  We traveled at the rate of twenty-five miles per day and camped near stagecoach stations where I saw the roughest and worst class of men.  As we traveled we passed many graves of poor people who had been murdered by the Indians or the desperate characters. . . .  We were detained by many mishaps to our team. . . .  There was nothing but cactus, sand and brush and occasionally an immense freight team. . . .  We reached Tucson on November 15, 1868 after a long and tiresome journey.” 

Rosa acted the role of wife of Philip Drachman until his death in 1889, after which she took over running the family’s Tucson cigar store, with the help of her sons.



Harry Arizona Drachman (1867 – 1951): the first child born in Arizona to two American parentsTucson city treasurer; county clerk; school district trustee; county assessor and state senator.

Mose Drachman (1870 – 1935): school board member; city councilman; the first secretary of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce; Member of the Arizona Board of Regents and a state senator.

Emanuel, Alpert P., Rebecca, Myra, Minnie Lillian, Esther, Phylis and Rosemary Drachman Taylor, who wrote the book Chicken Every Sunday on which the popular play and movie were based.


Rosa Katzenstein Drachman passed away in 1918.

She is buried in the Evergreen Memorial Park, Tucson Arizona



  • Floyd S. Fierman, “Philip and Samuel H. Drachman and the Goldberg Brothers: Arizona Pioneers,” Western States Jewish History 31/2.
  • Rosa K. Drachman, “From New York to Tucson in 1868,” Western States Jewish History 22/1.

Regina Merwin is curator of this Rosa Katzenstein Drachman exhibit.