Port Norris Legends

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Legends of Port Norris

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Samuel Cobb
b. August 13, 1887 - d. November 10, 1962

By Carole Cobb Robbins

Our family would like to thank the Port Norris Historical Society for selecting him as a 20th Century Legend.

Sam was born on Cobb Street in Port Norris on August 13, 1887. He was the 2nd son of Joshua Cobb, also of Port Norris, and Adelaid B. Chew Cobb, formerly of Philadelphia. His brother, Edgar Henry Baxter Cobb, Norman Cobb’s father and Rachel Cobb’s grandfather, was 6 years old when Sam was born. Sam never knew his father, as Joshua Cobb died at age 32 in April 1887, 4 months before he was born. Sam’s mother went on to marry John McConnell, which then made “Chilly” McConnell and his 5 siblings step brothers and sisters.

Sam attended Robbinstown School and we have a report card listing him as a 3rd year upper school student in the classical program of study. As a young man, he held various jobs, first starting in his mother's notion store on Cobb Street. Next, he sold insurance, delivered for Bacon Brother's Bakery, strung telephone cable, and started a photography studio (it runs in the family). See below for more on his photography.

In 1910, he married Essie Hickman and in 1911 and 1912, respectively, he became father to Marie and Mahlon Cobb. In later years he raise 2 other children, his niece Ethel Hickman Friswell and me. During WW1, he aided the war effort working at a munitions plant in Delaware. While in Delaware, he boarded with a group of other Port Norris men. His real introduction to store-keeping came about 1915, when he began working for Charlie Robbins at his store, the now abandoned post office building. A perk of this job was an apartment in Mr. Robbins home; the “mansion” house which was semi-attached to the store. He learned the business, and in 1919, took a giant leap of faith to start his own store. His first store was bought from Harry Barraclough and was on the northeast of Main Street.

The family’s second business move was across the street to the Willis Robbins property on the southeast corner of Main Street. The New Jersey Bell Telephone Exchange was upstairs; the store number was 8-6. The final move was to the DuBois building, now owned by the Port Norris Historical Society.

My grandfather was a man before his time. He was a free thinker with a Frasier Crane sense of humor. He exemplified Christian values and led by example. He believed in equal rights, and respected all without regard to race, ethnicity or social status. He was a gentle man, but not a push over. We have a clipping of an incident where he apprehended a man who had passed him a counterfit bill at the store. Apparently, Sam chased him down the street and held him until the police arrived. When he turned him over to the police, the suspect was identified as a wanted person.

He served Port Norris by keeping a patent medicine/essentials store open 8:30am to 10:00pm, 6 days a week from 1919-1962. He did his best to accommodate his customers. He special ordered things for some, and sold to them at cost if we didn’t carry that particular item. He frequently would open the store on Sundays and after-hours to get necessary items for people who came to the house. He never refused to open for those needing medicine.

My grandfather died November 10, 1962 at the age of 75. My Aunt Marie took over at the time and ran the store until early 1972, thus maintaining over 50 years of continuous service to the community.

Also See
Marie Cobb - Click Here

Portr Norris Historical Society
Amy Robbins Boggs, Hope Robbins Odell and Carole (Cobb) Robbins
at th PNHS awards dinner. 11-9-14

Portr Norris Historical Society


Samuel A. B. Cobb Photography

His photography was mainly focused around portraits. He also was called to photograph funerals and crime scenes. Sam was also a modern man. He managed to include himself in group photo shoots. He would set up his camera and set the timer and jump into the picture. He also liked to experiment with double exposures.

Download the January 2017 Newsletter

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

His studio in town. Not sure were it was located. But note the skylights.

Sam Cobb