Lewis Hershfield, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchant & Banker of Helena, Montana

Lewis Hershfield

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Lewis Hershfield was born in Utica, Oneida County, New York in 1836.

Along the way . . .

In the early 1860s, Lewis Hershfield journeyed with a team of oxen from Leavenworth, Kansas to Central City, Colorado.

In Colorado, Lewis Hershfield collected 26 wagons full of dry goods.

Lewis Hershfield drove this collection of goods through Colorado and Utah and settled in Virginia City, Montana in 1864.

Lewis Hershfield found success among the miners of Virginia City.

In addition to his dry goods store, he established a bank, storing gold as well as exchanging gold dust for money.

Helena, Montana

During the 1870s, Lewis Hershfield moved his bank to the mining boom town of Helena, Montana.

In 1878, his brother, Aaron Hershfield (1848-1918), joined him in the business, which changed its name to L.H. Hershfield & Brother.

In 1882, the bank became Nationally Chartered as the Mercantile National Bank of Helena.

Through the bank, Lewis Hirshfield invested in mines and other banks in the area.

The Mercantile National Bank went into receivership in 1897 after depositors withdrew their money.

Civic

In 1889, Lewis Hershfield was considered for the post of Territorial Governor of Montana.

Lewis Hershfield was appointed to the Montana Constitutional Convention, and lost the position of Permanent Chairman to William Clark by a margin of 4 votes.

 

Lewis Hershfield died in New York City in 1910.

Aaron Hershfield died at the Lewis & Clark Poor Farm in 1918.

 

Sources

 

Samantha Silver is our Curator for this Lewis Hershfield Exhibit.

We need pictures and more information to fill out this exhibit.