EDWARD N. COHN was born in 1832. On the 1870 Census he stated that he was born in Bohemia, in 1880 Germany. It is likely that he was born somewhere in what is now the Czech Republic. Edward Cohn appears to have served during the Civil War as a Sergeant with Company C of the 34th New Jersey Regiment from January 17, 1865 through January 16 of 1866, where he was mustered out in Mobile AL.
Edward N. Cohn appears in the 1870 census as living in Camden’s North Ward. He had by then married his wife Adeline, who was Pennsylvania born. The Cohns had a three year old daughter, Adelia. Edward N. Cohn was then working in the lumber business. He was doing well in that trade, as the family employed a live-in domestic. He had also started building houses.
Edward Cohn was making his home in Bordentown, NJ when the 1880 Census was taken. He was then in the retail lumber business. Business had been good to him, and the Cohn family was still employing a domestic. All through this period and into the 1880s he continued to engage in construction.
In 1886, George Reeser Prowell wrote of Edward N. Cohn, in his book History of Camden County, New Jersey:
Among the builders of Camden are several who have erected five or six hundred houses each. The heaviest operators are undoubtedly Cohn & Roberts, Wilson Ernst, and George Holl. Fine examples of the work of the firm first named are to be seen on Front and Point Streets, between Cooper and Linden. Mr. E. N. Cohn commenced building in 1866, erecting in that year 12 houses on Pearl Street. He then continued putting up blocks and separate structures, operating alone and in conjunction with Charles B. Richard and Asa R. Cox, and building not less than one hundred and fifty houses. He also erected the Pfeil and Galtz building, which was burned. In 1882 he formed a partnership with Joseph E. Roberts, who, individually, had built about two hundred houses, and as a firm they have since constructed at least four-hundred and fifty dwellings, to which line of building they devote themselves exclusively.
By 1887 Edward Cohn had moved back to Camden, and the family lived at the corner of 8th and Line Streets through 1889. In 1888 he began work on a mansion at North 8th and Cooper Streets. The 1890 Camden City Directory shows that Edward Cohn and family was living at 804 Cooper street, then one of the most prestigious blocks in the city. Edward Cohn died on November 9, 1890.
As indicated above, Edward Cohn had partnered with Joseph E. Roberts, president of the West Jersey Railroad Company. He would later also partner with George Holl. The Roberts and Cohn real estate firm was located at 105 Market Street. Edward Cohn bought land from John F. Starr Jr. in North Camden, and with partners Roberts and Holl built many two- and three-story row and frame houses from Cooper’s Point to Pearl Street, which they sold and rented out to working class people. Cohn also bought land near the Liberty Park railroad station, where he built blocks of similar homes along Liberty Street, Mechanic Street, Atlantic Avenue, and Kaighn Avenue, between Haddon Avenue and Mount Ephraim Avenues.
Cohn Alley, which runs west off Haddon Avenue between Kaighn Avenue and Liberty Street, is named for Edward N. Cohn.
A few times I have been asked by readers if a hospital ever existed next to the Ben Franklin Bridge and if so, what was its name.
Reprinted from the series of stories of Camden’s earlier days, under the title Sixty Years in Camden County – Gosh! by Will Paul, appearing in The Community news, of Merchantville, NJ.
David Baird Sr. was one of Camden’s leading citizens for well over 50 years. Born in Ireland in on April 7th of 1839, he came to America in 1858 after the death of his father, and settled in Camden the following year.
William Joyce Sewell was born on December 6, 1835 in Ireland. Orphaned at a young age, he emigrated to the United States in 1851. He was for a time employed in mercantile business in New York City, made several voyages as a sailor on merchant vessels, afterward engaged in business in Chicago, IL. He moved…
David Baird Jr. was born in Camden NJ on October 18, 1881. His father, David Baird Sr., was one of Camden’s leading citizens for well over 50 years, an important man both in the business and political life of Camden, Camden County, and South Jersey.