Jacob E. Cohen, Grocer

Grocery
1936-1962

714 Rutledge Avenue
Charleston, SC 29403

FAMILIES: Beja, Cohen, Klarer, Lehrman, Schwartz, Friedman

Jacob E. Cohen, (born Yankle Kiegel, 1884-1943) immigrated to the United States from Odessa, Russia via Bremen, Germany aboard the vessel Rhine in 1907. He married Jennie Friedman (born Jennie Dreizyk, 1892-1962), an immigrant from Stutzen, Poland, on September 3, 1912. The couple moved to Meggett, a small town in Charleston County located about 30 miles south of Charleston, and became the proprietor and saleswoman of a small general store. Oral tradition states that Jacob was also a truck farmer. Between 1913 and 1926, they had seven children: Tillie Cohen Lehrman (1913-2003), David Ephraim Cohen (1914-2001), Dorothy Cohen (1916-2005), Henry Cohen (1918-1992), Rose Cohen Schwartz (1920-2005), Sylvia Cohen Klarer (1922-2003), and Paula Cohen Beja (1926-2004). Between 1922 and 1925, Jacob worked as a City of Charleston police officer. From 1926 until 1936, Jacob operated Riverside Grocery at 170 Ashley Avenue (1926-1931) and 111 Line Street (1931-1936). In 1936, the family moved to a rented storefront at 714 Rutledge Avenue, where Jacob operated Jacob E. Cohen, Grocer. Jacob, his wife, Jennie Friedman (1892-1962), and their seven children lived upstairs and all worked in the grocery from a young age. Jacob Cohen purchased the property on August 1, 1942 for $5,200. After his death in 1943, the store continued to operate as Park Grove Grocery, managed by Henry and David Cohen, and then as Jennie Cohen, Grocer. Jennie Cohen sold the building and closed the store on August 1, 1961. She died the following year on February 27, 1962.

Main Image: Jacob Cohen poses with his daughter, Rose, and an unidentified friend inside the store at 714 Rutledge Avenue, circa late 1930s. All images courtesy Stuart Cohen

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation. Longtime members of the JHSSC, Mr. Arnold obm, a merchant himself, and Mr. Farbstein obm were both children of South Carolina Jewish merchants.

JHSSC Office
Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
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Email: jhssc@cofc.edu