Marcus Katz, Leading Jewish Pioneer Citizen of San Bernardino

Marcus Katz

Values Codes I-E-L-P

Marcus Katz, WS#1595

Marcus Katz,


Marcus Katz was born in 1820 in a small town with a very long name: 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.

Not succeeding in San Francisco, Katz headed south to  Los Angeles in 1852, where he went into a general merchandise business with Henry Bauman

Bauman & Katz was exceedingly successful.


San Bernardino

After 6 months 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 loved the location but 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.


The Katzs returned to San Bernardino in 1857 where he opened a stationary and book store.

He was appointed a Notary Public of the area which brought him into contact with most businessmen and landholders.



The following year, 1858, he was appointed Treasurer of the County of San Bernardino – a post he held until 1865.

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

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


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

* In 1858 the majority of the Mormon families were recalled to Utah and left San Bernardino County.



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.



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

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



Marcus Katz married Leah Jacobs in 1853.

Mrs. Marcus Katz

Mrs. Marcus Katz

They had 5 children that 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.


More information can be found in the following issues of Western States Jewish History:

  • Katz, Marcus; Reminisces; San Bernadino; 1820-1899; Norton Stern; 41/3
  • Katz, Marcus; Meeting with Mrs. Joseph Kustiner (Nee Irma Katz); San Bernadino; 1968; Norton Stern; 41/3
  • Katz, Marcus; Leading Citizen of San Bernadino; 1820-1899; Norton Stern; 41/4

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