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Duval Co. Biographies

COHEN, Jacob E.

Author: The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923,  Vol. III pg.171

COHEN, JACOB E. has made a record of splendid achievement in
connection with business enterprise of broad scope and importance and his
civic loyalty has prompted him to liberality and progressiveness in connection
with the general advancement of his home city of Jacksonville. He is
essentially one of the representative business men and broad-gauged and
enterprising citizens of the Florida metropolis.
Mr. COHEN was born in the City of Dublin, Ireland, on the 1st of
April, 1861, and is a son of ELIAS and RAE (HEYMAN) COHEN, both natives of
Berlin, Germany, where the former was born in 1816 and the latter in 1836,
their marriage having been solemnized in their native city. JACOB E. of this
review was the youngest of their eight children, of whom four are still
living. ELIAS COHEN became a successful exponent of the general merchandise
business in the City of Berlin, Germany, and in 1870 he came with his family
to New York City, where he was engaged in the dry-goods business until 1875,
when he retired, he having been seventy-five years of age at the time of his
death, in 1891, and his widow having passed away in 1896, at the age of sixty
years. Both were active members of the Reformed Jewish Temple in the national
In the public schools of the national metropolis JACOB E. COHEN
continued his studies until his graduation in the high school, and he
furthered his education by attending night school. In 1875 he came to
Jacksonville, Florida, and became associated with his brothers, SAMUEL, MORRIS
and JULIUS, in the dry-goods and department store business, under the firm
title of Cohen Brothers. Honorable dealings and effective service gained to
the establishment a large and appreciative supporting patronage, and the
enterprise was marked by consecutive expansion in scope and importance. In
1912 Mr. COHEN effected the organization of the St. James Realty & Department
Store Company, of which he is president, this corporation owning and
conducting the large and modern department store known as “The Big Store” and
recognized as the leading retail mercantile establishment of the Florida
metropolis. In this connection Mr. COHEN purchased the old St. James Hotel
property, covering the block bounded by Laura, Duval, Church and Hogan
streets, and on this property the company erected the largest and finest
business building in the city. The initiative thus taken resulted in the
opening of a new retail business district in Jacksonville, and the innovation
has proved the wisdom and self-reliant action of Mr. COHEN, who found his
course looked upon with more or less skepticism by other representative
business men of the city. He has built up a great mercantile establishment
which adds much to the metropolitan facilities and prestige of Jacksonville.
He is one of the valued members of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, is a
director of the Children’s Home Society and also of the Florida State Fair
Association, and gives liberally of his influence and co-operation in the
support of measures and enterprises tending to advance the general welfare of
his home city and state. He holds membership in the Lakeside, Riverside and
Norwood clubs and is a citizen who commands high place in popular confidence
and esteem.
At Jacksonville, Florida, on the 6th of September, 1887, was
solemnized the marriage of Mr. COHEN to Miss HATTIE HALLE, of Memphis,
Tennessee, and they have four children.
When Mr. COHEN established his home in Jacksonville the city had a
population of only 7,000, and he takes great satisfaction in the thought that
he has witnessed and contributed his share to the development of the city to
one of nearly 100,000 population and one of marked economic strength and

Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn

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2016 Fran Smith
This page presented August 19, 2010