Jacob was born in Austria-Hungary, as was his father, David. He emigrated to New York in the 1870s.
According to Jay Margulies Jacob came to New York with $5,000. He had the opportunity to buy a goat farm between York Avenue and the East River that stretched for about 20 blocks on the upper east side. Instead, he bought a small department store on York between 79th and 80th. As Jay says, Jews traditionally didn't buy real estate because they can't take it with him if they're forced to move.
Leslie would joke that if Jacob had bought the goat farm she'd have been a rich heiress and never met Jay.
The store became J. Kraus and Company and stayed in business for about 100 years, until his Jacob's son Joe passed away in the late 1970s.
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