Heyman Mannasse: Early Jewish Pioneer of San Diego & Arizona

Heyman Mannasse

Values Codes E – L – P


Heyman Mannasse was born in Prussia about 1831, probably in the town of Filehne.

The earliest evidence of his residency in the United States is his presence in San Diego in 1853.


San Diego

Heyman Mannasse’s first business was a dry goods store in San Diego, which he operated with his brother, Moses.

This business was dissolved in 1855.

Mannasse then managed a store for Jacob Ellis until he opened his own grocery and variety store in Casa Bandini in Old Town, San Diego.

San Diego, Old Town building, vintage postcard.


Heyman Mannasse helped organize the San Diego Guards.

He urged the establishment of a San Diego Lyceum & Debating Society.

He also drew up petitions for the opening of a new road.

In 1863, Mannasse served as one of San Diego County’s Supervisors.

He was popular and held in high esteem.



Heyman Mannasse raised funds for destitute Jews who were suffering persecution in Gibraltar.

He was a solid citizen with substantial assets.


Arizona Territory

Heyman Mannasse moved to Arizona as early as 1864.

He organized the Colorado River Farming and Stock Raising Association for the purpose of occupying a tract on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. This venture was not profitable.

In Wickenburg, Arizona, Mannasse formed a partnership with Julius A. Goldwater, which lasted five years.

He later moved to Phoenix.



In 1863, Heyman Mannasse married Hannah Schiller, but the marriage was soon terminated.

Hannah’s brother, Marcus Schiller, paid Heyman $2,500.

Hannah married Heyman’s brother, Joseph Mannassein 1867.


On the morning of April 20, 1875, an argument with Jesus Amado over the price of barley precipitated the shooting of Heyman Mannasse.

Amado first struck Mannasse in the face, grabbed a pistol and fired, hitting Heyman in the back.

Heyman Mannasse died that day.

His killer escaped and was never apprehended.


  • Audrey Karsh, “Heyman Mannasse: An Arizona and San Diego Saga,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 13/1.
  • Donald H. Harrison, “The 19th Century Credit Vise: How Tight Money Squeezed J.S. Mannasse and Marcus Schiller, San Diego, California, 1854-1897,” Western States Jewish History 40/1.

Linda Kern is curator of this Heyman Mannasse exhibit.