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, where they 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. In 1926, the family moved to a rented storefront with upstairs living quarters at 170 Ashley Avenue, where Jacob opened Riverside Grocery. Each of the children began working at the store at a young age. In 1931, Jacob moved his business and the family’s residence to a rented storefront at 111 Line Street. By 1932, the store was known as Jacob E. Cohen, retail grocery. The business and family moved a final time in 1936 to 714 Rutledge Avenue, which the Cohens purchased in 1942 for $5,200. The family remained in the grocery business after Jacob’s death in 1943, operating both Park Grove Grocery and Jennie Cohen, Grocery until 1961.
Main Image: Jacob Cohen, his wife Jenny Friedman, and their children, Tillie (standing) and David (sitting) pose for a photographer, circa 1914. All images courtesy of Stuart Cohen