Marcus Katz: Leading Jewish Pioneer Citizen of San Bernardino

Marcus Katz

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Marcus Katz, WS#1595

Marcus Katz, #WS1595

 

Marcus Katz was born in 1820 in the small town of Bobenhhausen, Upper Hesse, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany.

 

Along the way . . .

Marcus Katz landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1845, where he found a clerkship in a Jewish store.

With the news of the California Gold Rush, Katz resigned his position and headed to San Francisco, via Panama, arriving late in 1850.

Unable to find success in San Francisco, Katz headed south to  Los Angeles in 1852, where he entered a general merchandise business with Henry Bauman.

Bauman & Katz was exceedingly successful.

 

San Bernardino

After 6 months in Los Angeles, Marcus Katz cashed out his partnership and moved to San Bernardino.

There, he obtained permission from the leaders of the Mormon community to open a general merchandise store.

He then moved to San Diego, where he met and married Leah Jacobs in 1853, in what may have been the first “Jewish marriage” in Southern California.

They returned to San Bernardino in 1857, where Marcus opened a stationary and book store.

He was appointed as a notary public, which brought him into contact with most of the area’s businessmen and landholders.

 

 Civic

In 1858, most of San Bernardino’s Mormon families were recalled to Utah.

That year, Marcus Katz was appointed treasurer of the County of San Bernardino, a post he held until 1865.

Also in 1858, Wells Fargo appointed Marcus Katz as its agent for San Bernardino, a position he held until 1874.

In 1859, Katz was placed in charge of the U.S. Commissary for two companies of U.S. troops stationed in San Bernardino.

During the 1870’s and 1880’s, he purchased a great deal of real estate within San Bernardino and the surrounding area.

 

Community

In 1861 Marcus Katz applied for a land charter for a Jewish cemetery.

He later deeded the cemetery to the Paradise Lodge of B’nai B’rith, who later  deeded the Home of Eternity Cemetery to the new synagogue, Congregation Emanu El of San Bernardino.

 

Fraternal

Marcus Katz was active with the Masons, B’nai B’rith, and the San Bernardino Pioneer Society.

He was a charter member of the Paradise Lodge of B’nai B’rith Lodge in 1875.

 

Family

Marcus Katz and Leah Jacobs were wed in 1853.

Mrs. Marcus Katz

Mrs. Marcus Katz

They had 5 children who lived to adulthood: Maurice, Grace, Victoria, Glady, and Edmond.

 

Marcus Katz passed away in 1899.

“Marcus Katz was a progressive citizen always, and even in later years has thought of the future of the town, and has been always the first to welcome strangers seeking homes here.” 

San Bernardino Free Press

Sources

  • Norton B. Stern, “Marcus Katz: Reminisces, San Bernardino, 1820-1899,” Western States Jewish History 41/3.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Meeting with Mrs. Joseph Kustiner (née Irma Katz),”Western States Jewish History 41/3.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Marcus Katz: Leading Citizen of San Bernardino, 1820-1899,”Western States Jewish History 41/4.