Jacob W. Pearlstine (1874-1961) was born in Charleston, South Carolina to Polish immigrant Samuel White Pearlstine (1847-1922) and South Carolina native Sallie Livingston Pearlstine (1852-1898). In 1901, he founded dry goods, clothing, and grocery business J.W. Pearlstine, with help from his brother, Hyman Pearlstine (1880-1957). In addition to Hyman, Jacob’s father, Samuel, likely helped run the business as Jacob continued to live with him and he had years of mercantile experience. Around 1908, Jacob expanded his business, opening a meat market at the rear of his store. After the dissolution of J.W. Pearlstine in 1911, Jacob opened a store in nearby Olar, South Carolina. That store burned to the ground in 1913. After the fire, Jacob continued to work as a merchant in Olar until he retired around 1951 and moved to Orangeburg, South Carolina.