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Newspaper clippings follow the life of Hannibal jeweler, William Cohen

Today I'm focusing on William Cohen, who operated a jewelry store in Hannibal, Missouri, as early as 1849 and until his death in 1853. Thanks to digital archives available through, a sample advertisement is attached to these newspaper clippings. Mary Lou Montgomery

Click here if you would like to read the story of Bobby Heiser and his family's jewelery legacy in Hannibal.

Missouri Courier Nov. 1, 1849

Robbery. The shop of Mr. H. Cohen, jeweler, on Main street, was broken open on Tuesday evening, and robbed of three gold watches. An entrance was effected at the back window. No clue as to the their has yet been obtained.

Missouri Courier, Nov. 15, 1849

Young Leonard, charged with breaking into the jewelry shop of Wm. Cohen, was examined before the Recorder of this city on Monday, and after a patient hearing, was fully committed. He was admitted to bail in the sum of $300, for his appearance at Circuit Court. The Grand Jury meets at Palmyra on Monday, when the case will be finally disposed of by indictment.

Missouri Courier, Dec. 6, 1849

We were presented, a few days since, by Mr. Wm. Cohen, jeweler on Main street, with a pair of Spectacles, of a peculiar character, which he calls “Elitorial Specs.” They are so constructed that a person writing or reading, can look up at a visitor without raising the head or specs. In other words they are made to see over as well as to see through; to us the former is far the easiest. As we have no use for such an article just now, they are carefully laid by for a future day. They will, perhaps, be the only piece of property we shall have provided for our old age, unless our delinquent subscribers reform their ways.

Missouri Courier Dec. 6, 1849

Sentenced to Penitentiary

Peter Leonard, was arraigned before the Marion Circuit Court on Monday last, on an indictment for having broken into and robbed the Jewelry shop of Wm. Cohen, in this city, of several gold and silver watches. He plead guilty, and was sentenced to two years imprisonment in the Penitentiary. In consideration of the prisoner’s youth and apparently sincere repentance for his crime, Judge wells fixed his punishment at the lowest limit which we believe is allowed by law. He cried bitterly when sentence was passed upon him.

Missouri Courier, May 9, 1850

Thieves about

The jewelry store of Wm. Cohen, on Main Street, was again broken into on Friday night last, and robbed of several common watches and other articles of small value. The rogues made but little, as Mr. Cohen nightly removes his most valuable articles to his residence. An attempt, we understand, was also made on the night previous to enter the residence of Dr. Griffith, Receiver of Public Monies; but being fired upon by the servant, the rascals fled. There are several suspicious characters about town, upon whom it would be well for our city officers to keep a watchful eye. The vagrant law might be enforced to some purpose.

Missouri Courier, March 27, 1851

A new lot of rich Jewelry, and other pretty things for the Ladies, will be found advertised by that jolly “laugh-and-grow-fat” man, Cohen

Missouri Courier, Sept. 9, 1852

Died, in St. Louis, on the 6th inst., Wm. Cohen Jr., youngest son of Wm. Cohen, of this city.

Missouri Courier, Thursday, July 27, 1854

On Thursday, the 20th, inst., of apoplexy in the city of St. Louis, Mr. William M. Cohen, in the 42nd year of his age. He leaves two children and many relatives and friends to mourn his sudden decease.


William Cohen, 37, born about 1813 in Virginia

Home in 1850: Hannibal, Missouri

Wife: Emily Cohen


Mary J. Cohen 7

John Cohen 1

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