Jacob (Jim) Manasse: Jewish Pioneer Merchant and Postmaster of Hanford, California

Jacob (Jim) Manasse 

Values Codes I – E – L


Jacob (Jim) Manasse was born in Germany in 1853.

He came with his family to the United States in 1869.


Along the way . . .

The Manasse family settled in Snelling, Maricopa County, California

From 1869 to 1874, Jacob Manasse worked in the store of Jacob & Company.

His brother, Ned Manasse, had his own store in Borden.


San Joaquin Valley

New towns were created as the Southern Pacific Railroad snaked through the San Joaquin Vally in 1872.

Jacob Manasse was sent to the new Grand View depot to manage a branch store for Simon Jacob & Co. He eventually became its owner.

In 1877, the town of Hanford was created by the railroad.

That year, when the first auctions of Hanford lots were held, Manasse purchased a lot on Sixth Street between Harris and Douty Streets.

He then had his Grand View store sawed into sections and hauled to Hanford, thereby becoming one of the founders of the new community.

Business was conducted under the name of Simon Jacobs & Co. until 1885, when it became Manasse & Weisbaum.

After a fire, the company dissolved.

In 1889, the firm of Simon, Manasse & Co. was organized.

A new, handsome store was built in 1891, along with a warehouse on the old site, which stored and shipped goods throughout the San Joaquin Valley and as far north as San Francisco.

Downtown Hanford, CA 1877, #WS1359

Downtown Hanford, CA, 1877, #WS1359

After retiring, Jacob Manasse  moved his family to San Francisco, where he worked as a wool buyer, traveling back and forth to Hanford for work and friendships.



Jacob (Jim) Manasse worked hard to help incorporate Hanford.

He was elected to the first Hanford City Council.

He was also the first Postmaster of Hanford, serving from 1877- to 1882.

Downtown Hanford, CA, turn of the 20th century, vintage postcard


Manasse was a member of  the B’nai B’rith Lodge in Hanford.



Jacob Manasse married Lillie Weisbaum in Hanford in 1880.

Lillie worked tirelessly for the establishment of the Hanford Public Library.

Jacob and Lillie Manasse had three children: Lester, Arthur, and Rita.


Jacob (Jim) Manasse passed away in 1920.


  • Annie R. Mitchell, “Pioneer Merchants of Tulare County, California,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 2/3.
  • “Jewish Businessmen of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern Counties,” from Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern, California (1891), reprinted in Western States Jewish History 34/4.