Our Founders


Isadore Cohen

1884 – 1963

Source: History of West Virginia and WV Biography

Published 1923



ISADORE COHEN, who is one of the representative young business men of the City of Bluefield, where he conducts a well equipped jewelry establishment, was born in Russia, May 11, 1884, and is a son of Rabbi S. A. and Mollie (Katz) Cohen. The father was graduated in a leading Jewish theological school, and was in charge of a Jewish congregation in Russia until 1905, when at the age of seventy-one years, he came to the United States, some of his children having previously established their homes in this country—located respectively in Washington, D. C., Baltimore, Maryland, the State of Georgia and in Bluefield, West Virginia.


Reared in a home of intellectual and cultural influences, Isadore Cohen attended school in the City of Biga, Russia, and at the age of twenty years he graduated from the University of Kiev. In 1905 he came with his venerable father to America and established his residence at Bluefield, West Virginia, where he entered a private school for the purpose of learning the English language, which he could not speak at that time. So effectively did he study that he now speaks the language with fluency and with no foreign accent, besides being able to read and write with the high standard of efficiency that his previous liberal education has made possible. While at the University of Kiev he studied dentistry, but he has never entered the into practice of the same. After attending private school at Bluefield Mr. Cohen here engaged in the cigar business in 1907, with one stand in the Altamont Hotel, and later  another at the Matz Hotel, his original capitalistic investment having been $300.


In 1912 he opened his jewelry store, and he has built up a most prosperous enterprise, based alike on his personal popularity and the effective service rendered to an appreciative trade. From 1916 to 1921 Mr. Cohen was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce. He is one of the loyal, liberal and public spirited citizens of the Mercer County metropolis. During the World war period he was a member of the local organization of the National Council of Defense, a member of the fuel administration of Mercer County and the Jewish Welfare Board, and chairman of the local committee of the American Jewish Relief Commission, the committee of this body having raised at Bluefield the sum of $25,000 for relief work in Europe. Mr. Cohen is on the Executive Board of the Boys Club of Bluefield, West Virginia, and through the efforts of Rev. S. H. Mabie, a clergyman of the Baptist Church, and those of Mr. Cohen was established the first public playground at Bluefield.


Mr. Cohen is deeply appreciative of American institutions and advantages, and his loyalty is expressed in service in behalf of communal welfare. He is a charter member of the Rotary Club in his home city, is affiliated with Bluefield Lodge No. 85, P. and A. M., Bluefield Lodge of Perfection No. 8, West Virginia Consistory at Wheeling, No. 1, and Beni-Kedem Temple, A.A.O.N.M. S., of Charleston, West Virginia. He and his wife are zealous members of the Jewish congregation at Bluefield, and are popular in social circles of the community.


In 1910 Mr. Cohen wedded Miss Flora Charlotte Greenspon, daughter of Solomon Greenspon, and the two children of this union are Helen and Emanuel B.


City Directories indicate Isadore Cohen later owed a Life Insurance business and during the 1930s and 40s he and Flora resided at the West Virginian Hotel, as did many prominent older Bluefield residents of that time.  A plaque in The Synagogue  Ahavah Sholom  indicates Isadore Cohen died July 19, 1963.


Founder's Page

Home Page