OPPENHEIMER, DANIEL (1836–1915). Daniel Oppenheimer, merchant and banker, was born on November 22, 1836, in Burgkunstadt, Bavaria, the first of eight children of Joseph and Yetta Oppenheimer. He immigrated to the United States in 1854, arriving in New York, then sailing to Galveston, and moving from there to Palestine, Texas, where an uncle, Leopold Veith, lived. Daniel traveled to Texas with another uncle, Julius Oppenheimer. Daniel worked for his uncle Veith as a peddler for two years, then moved on to Rusk, where he set up his own peddling business. In 1858 he sent for his brother Anton Oppenheimer, and they formed a partnership called D and A Oppenheimer. From 1858 to 1861 they operated as small merchants in Rusk and the surrounding area. In 1861 they closed their store, left their merchandise with their uncle, and joined the Confederate Army. Daniel joined the Tenth Texas Cavalry at Rusk and was wounded at the battle of Nashville. After his discharge as a captain in Richmond, Virginia, Daniel rejoined his brother in Rusk to sell merchandise. Later the brothers moved to San Antonio, where they reopened their firm. As their business grew, they began trading goods to ranchers for cattle; they also began to buy land. At one time they ran 15,000 head on ranches; one ranch comprised 110,000 acres in McMullen and Atascosa counties. They owned smaller ranches closer to San Antonio that covered 5,000 to 8,000 acres. The Hord Ranch near San Antonio grazed sheep and goats; the Oppenheimers were among the pioneers in the raising of goats and the production of mohair in Texas (see WOOL AND MOHAIR INDUSTRY). After the Civil War Daniel and Anton operated a bank. The Oppenheimers financed many of the cattle drives up the Chisholm Trail. Anton died in 1906, and in 1908 Daniel sold their largest ranch. On August 29, 1869, Daniel had married Louisa Goldstein, daughter of Henry and Fredericka (Pfeiffer) Goldstein, pioneer residents of New York City; he had met her while on a buying trip to New York. Daniel and his wife had seven children. Daniel Oppenheimer was a Mason, a member of the Harmony Club, and one of the leaders of Congregation Beth-El. He died at his home on Jefferson Street in San Antonio on December 7, 1915.
Daniel Oppenheimer II, Interviews by Larry Meyer, July 1970, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). San Antonio Express, December 8, 1915.