Jules Eugene Straus, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchant of St. Helena, California

Jules Eugene Straus

Values Codes  I-E-L

Jules Straus, Leopold Lazarus’s brother-in-law, was born in Alsace, France, in 1844.


Along the way . . .

At age fifteen, Jules Straus came to America, sailing from Havre de Grace to New Orleans, arriving in 1858.

There, Jules Straus secured a position as clerk in a mercantile firm, and held this position some six years before sailing to California via the Cape Horn route which took approximately six months.


St. Helena

Jules Straus then settled in St. Helena, California.

Jules Straus accepted a clerkship from the firm of Lazarus & Levy, in a general store, which he held for one year.

After moving around the Western United States, Jules Straus once more returned to St. Helena in 1870 and started his own business in the building now occupied by Wells, Fargo & Co., where he continued until 1875.

The Straus Store

The Straus Store



Jules Straus was married in 1868, to Jeanette Levy, a native of France.

Together they had one child, Bernice B., born in St. Helena.

They also adopted an older daughter, Mathilda R Straus.


For more information, see:

Under the Vine and the Fig Tree: The Jews of Napa Valley, by Lin Weber, ISBN 0-9667014-4-5, 2003

Napa Valley’s Jewish Heritage, by Henry Michalski and Donna Mendelsohn, ISBN 978-0-7385-8898-8 Arcadia Publishers

Both books are available thru the Jewish Historical Society of Napa Valley, info@jhsnv.org



JE Straus store at 123 Main St. in St. Helena (courtesy of St. Helena Historical Society)

Click on photos to enlarge them.

Lauren Chevlen is curator of this Jules Eugene Straus Exhibit.