Joseph Gans, Jewish Pioneer Merchant and Rancher of Helena, Montana

Joseph Gans

Values Codes I – E – L


Joseph Gans was born in 1838 in Neustadt, Germany.

He came to New York in 1861, at the age 0f 23.


Along the way . . . .

In 1862, Joseph Gans crossed the Isthmus of Panama, visiting various western states – California, Oregonand Idaho.

He tried out various jobs, including butchery and freighting.


Helena, Montana

In 1866, Joseph Gans moved to Helena, Montana.

He opened a general merchandise store.

He also tried his hand at ranching.  “XIT” was his brand.

In 1876, Gans entered into a partnership with Henry Klein.

By 1882, their mercantile firm, Gans & Klein Co., was quite successful.

Louis and Herman Gansalso worked at Gans & Klein.

Joseph Gans  also raised sheep in Wyoming during this time.

Helena, Montana, Vintage Map


Joseph Gans was a Master of King Solomon Masonic Lodge No. 9

He also served as its Treasurer 35 times.



In 1876, Joseph Gans married Frederika (Rachael) Kaufman (1847-1928).

Together they had 5 children: Sara (1878-1947); Marvin Lloyd Gans (1881-1947), who took over running Gans & Klein; Carrie M. (1887-1890); David S. (1890-1960); and Mrs. Henry Weigel.


Joseph Gans died in 1917.

He is buried at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Helena.

Frederika Gans died in 1928.



Samantha Silver is curator for this Joseph Gans exhibit.