Jewish merchant Joe Weisman (1847-1918), born in Syracuse, New York, was one of seven children of Meyer and Mary Doppelmayer Weisman. Joe studied at Bryan-Stratton Business College before following an uncle, Daniel Doppelmayer, to Marshall, Texas in 1866. Five of his siblings followed him to Texas. In 1878, Joe formed Joe Weisman and Company. Three of his brothers worked with him at the mercantile store, located on the north side of Peter Whetstone Square.
In 1881, Weisman wed Lena Young (1858-1930), and the couple had four daughters: Hallette, Estelle, Edith and Valrie. Joe and Lena were active at Temple Moses Montefiore and contributed greatly to the community, assisting with fundraising efforts for local churches, charities and schools, including the College of Marshall (later East Texas Baptist University) and Wiley College.
In 1900, Weisman relocated the business, which had grown into a department store, to this site. Joe Nathan Hirsch (1883-1966), who began at the store as a stock clerk before opening his own mercantile, wed Valrie Weisman (1890-1963) in 1910. He returned to Weisman and Company and took over its management in the mid-1910s. He and Valrie had four children and continued the business for more than 50 years. They and their extended family also maintained the Weisman-Hirsch commitment to community service and were active in local groups including fraternal organizations and the Marshall Symphony.
Martin (1912-1968) and Joe (1923-1994) Hirsch continued the business after their parents' deaths. Joe sold it in 1972, but it was operated by subsequent owners until 1990. The city restored the building, designed by C.G. Lancaster, and it remains a commercial landmark. (2004)