Jacob (Jim) Manasse, Jewish Pioneer Merchant and Postmaster of Hanford, California

Jacob (Jim) Manasse 

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Jacob (Jim) Manasse was born in what we know know as Germany in 1853

Jacob Manasse came with his family  to the United States in 1869.


Along the way . . .

The Manasse family settled in Snelling, Maricopa County, California

1869-1874, Jacob Manasse  worked in the store of Jacob & Company.

His brother, Ned Manasse, had his own store in Borden.


San Joaquin Valley

As the Southern Pacific Railroad snaked through the San Joaquin Vally in 1872, it created new towns.

Jim Manasse was sent to the new Grand View depot to manage a branch store for Simon Jacob & Co. He eventually became it’s owner.


In 1877, the town of Hanford was created by the railroad.


When, in 1877, the first action sales of lots for the new town of Hanford were being held, Jim Manasse purchased a lot on Sixth Street between Harris and Douty Streets.

He went back to Grand View, had his store sawed into sections and hauled them to Hanford, becoming one of the founders of the new community.

The business was conducted under the name of Simon Jacobs & Co. until 1885 when it became Manasse & Weisbaum.

After a fire, the company desolved.

In 1889 the firm of Simon, Manasse & Co. was organized.

In 1891 a new, handsome store was built, as-well-as a warehouse structure on the old site, storing and shipping goods throughout the San Joaquin Valley and as far north as San Francisco.

Downtown Hanford, CA 1877, #WS1359

Downtown Hanford, CA 1877, #WS1359

After retiring, Jim Manasse  moved his family to San Francisco where he worked as a wool buyer, traveling back and forth to Hanford for work and for friendships.



Jacob (Jim) Manasse worked hard to help incorporate Hanford.

He was elected to the first Hanford City Council.

Jacob (Jim) Manasse was also the first Postmaster of Hanford, serving from 1877-1882.

Turn of the Century, Downtown Hanford, CA., Vintage Postcard


Jacob Manasse was a member of  the B’nai B’rith Lodge in Hanford.



Jacob (Jim) Manasse married Lillie Weisbaum in Hanford in 1880.

Lillie worked hard for the establishment of the Hanford Public Library.


Jacob and Lillie Manasse had three children: Lester, Arthur, and Rita.


Jacob (Jim) Manasse passed away in 1920




For more information on Jacob (Jim) Manasse, see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Pioneer Merchants of Tulare County, California, by Annie R. Mitchell, WSJH, Vol. 2, Issue #3, 1970.
  • “Jewish Businessmen of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern Counties,” from Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern, California, 1891, WSJH, V34, #4, 2002

Any additional information or pictures would be appreciated.