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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Historic Preservation & Archaeology > Learn About Topics > Cultures > Jewish Heritage Initiative > Knox DHPA Jewish Historical Resources

Knox County MapKnox County

Vincennes, is the oldest town in Indiana, settled as early as 1763. Samuel Judah settles in Vincennes in 1818. He served in the Indiana State Legislature 1825-40; he was the Speaker of House of the 25th Assembly.

Adam Gimbel arrived in the United States from Bavaria in 1835. Working as a peddler, he traveled along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In May 1842, he settled in Vincennes. He opened his Palace of Trade in 1842. Some of his siblings soon joined him, helping him open four stores, a wholesale liquor business, and major interest in the American Bank of Vincennes. Adam served as a member of the city council, 1842-1866. In 1866, Gimbel sold his interests in the business and moved to Philadelphia; other family members soon followed. Gimbel opened stores in Philadelphia (1894), New York (1910), and Pittsburgh (1925). In 1928 Saks Fifth Avenue became a Gimbel subsidiary.

The American Jewish Archives has notes that Congregation Hovas Hochim was in the county in 1931. A group of Polish Jews formed the congregation. Services were held at various rented location; elders conducted the service. Eventually, a grocery store was purchased, renovated and became the synagogue. Through deaths and relocation, the Jewish population dwindled and the congregation disbanded in the 1960s. Jewish interments occurred in the local Crown Hill Cemetery.