California Genealogy and History Archives
subject of the sketch was born about 1860 in the town of Kovel,
government of Volhynia, Russia. His father was the chief rabbi of the
town and died before Moses was ten years old. For some time it was the
ambition of his mother and others who eared for his education that he
should ultimately occupy his father's position. Fate, however, decreed
otherwise. One of his guardians was a regularly admitted legal
practitioner and prepared him for the practice of law.
1882 M. S. Wahrhaftig came to the United States, and after a few weeks'
stay in New York arrived in California, where he has resided ever since
with the exception of about a year spent in Oregon. Ignorant of the
English language, and without means, he was obliged for some time to eke
out an existence by manual labor, especially on farms, for which he
acquired quite a taste. We thus find him in his early career riding a
hay-mower or rake, as well as walking behind a plow. Among his other
occupations were assaying and printing. To the latter art he contributed
most of his first ten years' residence in the metropolis of California.
He was initiated into the San Francisco Topographical Union in 1890, but
till the same year acquired a ten-acre tract of land at Orangevale,
where his mother and a brother and family settled with him. An invasion
of locusts in 1891 caused considerable damage to his fruit ranch, and it
became necessary for him to fall back on the printer's case for earning
a livelihood for himself and the folks on the ranch. Coming to
Sacramento, for some time he worked in the printing offices of Carraghen
and Anderson, State Printing Office, A. J. Johnston's printing office
and others until about 1894, when the great railroad strike took place.
He then conceived the idea that another daily paper could be published
in Sacramento, and The Daily Times was thereupon founded. It supported
the People's party, and lasted until after the November elections. He
then connected himself with the North California Herald, a pioneer
German paper published in Sacramento, for which he worked as reporter,
solicitor and compositor. At the same time he was reading law.
August, 1897, Mr. Wahrhaftig was admitted by the Supreme Court of the
state of California to the practice of law in all the courts of the
state, and later on in the federal courts. Judge A. P. Catlin recognized
his ability by offering him room in his own law offices. It did not take
long before he acquired a lucrative practice and ever increasing
clientele. He has never left Sacramento, where he is now located in the
Nicolaus Building. His profession has not rendered him exclusive. From
time to time he contributes articles for newspapers and has written some
short stories dealing with Jewish life in Russia. He is a member of
several brailehes of the Masonic and Odd Fellows fraternities,
Sacramento Turn Verein, of nearly all local Jewish religious fraternal
or benevolent societies, and is affiliated with almost every National
Jewish organization, in all of which he takes a very active interest.
In October, 1908, Mr. Wahrhaftig married Miss Irma R. Levy, then a teacher in the public schools of Sacramento county, and prominent in literary, art and fraternal circles. She is the daughter of E. R. Levy, a pioneer merchant of Folsom. His comfortable home has been blessed with a son and daughter.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011