Southwest Corner of Lady and Marion Streets
Site of Mordecai Family Residence
Isaac D. Mordecai (1805-1864) was born in Charleston, SC, to David Cohen Mordecai (1784-1818) and Reinah Abrahams Mordecai (1784-1853). His older brother, Moses Cohen Mordecai (1804-1888), ran a successful import business in Charleston and eventually became the port city’s most well regarded Jewish merchant.
Mordecai arrived in Columbia with several family members sometime before 1840. He lived at this residence, originally owned by his mother, from at least 1850 until his death in 1864. Mordecai likely acquired the deed upon his mother’s death in 1853, as by the 1860 US Census his total real estate value had risen to $12,000. In 1855, he was assaulted a few feet from his Lady Street home by “an individual, supposed to be a white man with his face blacked,” who was never apprehended (Charleston Courier, November 20, 1855). Arthur & Moore’s Map of Columbia, 1850.
Isaac was involved in several organizations in Columbia, including Richland Lodge No. 39, the Hebrew Benevolent Society and the Bank of South Carolina, for which he was director. He remained in Columbia through at least July 1863, but was buried in the family plot at Coming Street Cemetery in Charleston the following year. The family's Lady Street residence was one of many destroyed during the Burning of Columbia in February 1865.
Isaac opened a dry goods store specializing in cigars, tobacco and liquor sometime in the 1850s, and by 1859 he had moved his storefront to No. 128 Richardson (Main) Street, located on the west side between Plain (Hampton) and Taylor streets.