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Mon, Sept. 23

'Don Miguel' Wormser, pioneer Jew in earliest Prescott

The first store on Prescott's courthouse plaza was operated by Michael Wormser, a pioneer Jew from Alsace-Lorraine, France. Wormser purchased the adobe building on the southeast corner of Montezuma and Goodwin (next to the current Chamber of Commerce office) from Rafael Lucero of New Mexico. For the next decade, Michael Wormser sold miners supplies and general merchandise on the plaza.

Michael Wormser left his native France in 1858 and arrived in New York City with only $15 in his pocket. When he died he was one of the wealthiest men in Arizona. His cousin, Benjamin Block, paid for his passage in steerage from the slums of New York to San Francisco. Wormser slept in the straw in Block's livery stable in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on duty round the clock. When that business failed, Wormser earned his way as a peddler and horse trader.

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