On June 3, 1846, Russian immigrant Aaron Loryea (1821-1911) married English immigrant Jane D. Hart (1825-1895) in Baltimore, Maryland. Less than two years later, the couple was living in Sumter, South Carolina (called Sumterville until 1855) with their newborn son, Joseph (1848-1949). In Sumter, Loryea operated a mercantile store until he and his family moved to Charleston around 1850. In Charleston, Loryea initially worked as a tailor before he returned to the mercantile business around 1859. According to the 1860 Census, Loryea enslaved two people, a 45-year-old woman and a 10-year-old boy, indicating some measure of financial success. The enslaved woman and boy possibly worked in his business or tended his cotton fields, which produced 38 bales of cotton in 1865. After the Civil War, however, Loryea fell on hard times, and his business eventually went bankrupt in 1868. After his bankruptcy, his wife, Jane, assumed legal control of the business. By 1874, however, he had opened a clothing and furniture store at 369 King Street in Charleston. His store in Charleston remained open until about 1883, although he opened the California Store in Orangeburg with Jacob Sorentrue (1858-1903) in 1878.