Tobias, Abraham

views updated


TOBIAS, ABRAHAM (1793–1856), Charleston businessman and civic leader. Born in Charleston, Tobias received little formal education. He prospered as an auctioneer, vendue master, and commission merchant. He was a director of the Union Bank of South Carolina for 21 years, a member of the City Board of Health (1833–37), and a commissioner of pilotage for Charleston harbor (1838–43). He participated in the turbulent politics of the period as a States Rights Party member, supporting John C. Calhoun's position. As a trustee of Beth Elohim synagogue, of which his great-grandfather, Joseph *Tobias, was a founder (1749), he was a key figure in the 1840s when the congregation split over installing an organ and making other ritual reforms.


B.A. Elzas, The Jews of South Carolina (1905), passim; A. Tarshish, in: ajhsq, 54 (1965), 411–49.

[Thomas J. Tobias]