Christine Nicholl’s Blog 20 July 2013

Christine Nicholl’s Blog 20 July 2013

Sammy Jacobs (1887-1951) In my blogs of 2 January and 25 January 2012 I talked about the arrival of Jewish families in Kenya.  One person I mentioned was Solomon (Sammy) Jacobs, proprietor of the Dustpan emporium in Nairobi before the First World War. Recently his grandson David, who lives in Canada, contacted me as a result of the blog, requesting more information about Sammy’s daughter Violet, his mother. With the help of a family tree kindly provided by the grandson and some more research, I have found out more about the remarkable Jacobs family in early Kenya. Sammy’s father was Herman Brodent, a tailor originally from Lodz, who changed his name to Jacobs and went to live in Hull in Yorkshire, and his mother was Dora Moscow (from the Moscovitch family in Poland), who ran a boarding house. Sam was actually born in England on 16 January 1887, in Hull, being taken to South Africa as a child in 1892, on the Dunottar Castle, and he had a brother ([Abraham] Marks, born 1884) and three sisters, Leah (born 1877), Esther (Hettie, born 1881) and Gertrude (Gertie, born in 1883). It seems that Mark, Gertie and Sammy came to East Africa in 1906, because Sammy had worked for the East African Standard in South Africa. Sammy opened the Dustpan store, as well as investing in the Metropolitan Hotel in Mombasa. Later he bought 200 acres of sisal and 300 acres of coffee at Murufu estate near Thika. The Dustpan (later renamed S. Jacobs Ltd.) opened branches in Nakuru, Eldoret and Mombasa.  Sammy became a member of the Legislative Council and Deputy Mayor...