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Raphael Moses Papers

Identifier: Mss 083

Scope and Contents

Researchers studying the Raphael Moses Papers will gain insight into the life of a prominent southern Jew during the 19th century. All material is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.


  • 1890 - 1939

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Biographical / Historical

Raphael Moses was a fifth generation American who was descended from Dr. Samuel Nunez, the King of Portugal’s physician who escaped the Inquisition on an English boat, and who landed in the new colony founded by Oglethorpe on the Savannah River in 1733. Raphael was born during the War of 1812 and grew up in Charleston. He attended various schools, including Bishop England’s Catholic institution, and felt confident enough at 13 to begin life. The disastrous fire that destroyed part of Charleston in 1837 put him out of business. He shipped what he could salvage to Florida where he was able to secure a job in the town of St. Joseph. A flair for politics spread his reputation throughout the state and he was elected a Florida delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Baltimore in 1847. During the Civil War he rose to the rank of General and even befriended Robert E. Lee. In 1878, the 64 year old Moses offered himself to congress in Georgia, but was faced with anti-Semitism. He passed away in 1893. Source: Harry Simonhoff, “Raphael Moses: Fiery Confederate, Loyal Jew,” The Southern Israelite (April 12, 1957) pg. 46-47. Perhaps the most notable Jewish citizen of Columbus was Raphael J. Moses. Born and raised in South Carolina, Moses came to Columbus in 1849 from Apalachicola, Florida, where he had been a lawyer. Columbus was closely tied to Apalachicola through the cotton trade and Moses already had contacts and clients in Columbus when he arrived in 1849. Moses became one of the most prominent lawyers in the state of Georgia, but also joined the ranks of southern planters with his purchase of the Esquiline Plantation. By 1850, Moses already owned sixteen slaves. Moses soon became a pioneer in the development of the commercial peach growing industry in Georgia. In 1851, he became the first planter to sell peaches outside of the state, shipping his produce to New York. He had found a new way to preserve them when shipped, using champagne baskets instead of pulverized charcoal. Moses became a very successful planter, which required more labor. By 1860, Moses owned 47 slaves, and was listed as a “farmer” in the US Census, even though he continued his law practice. Source: Temple Israel, “A History of the Jewish Community in Columbus, Georgia,”


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Language of Materials



Raphael Moses was born in 1812 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was an eminent lawyer and leader in the Civil War and Reconstruction periods of Georgia. He served on the staff of General James Longstreet in the Army of Northern Virginia. His papers consist of a typescript copy of the autobiography of Raphael Moses, 1890, a biography of Raphael Moses written by his grandson Stanford Moses, 1939, and letters of Raphael Moses, copied from the original, by Stanford Moses, 1812-1893.


All material is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.
Raphael Moses Papers, Mss 83
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States