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Hyman Capin Kapinski

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Hyman Capin, the son of a tailor, was born in Ponevezh, Kovno,
Lithuania, to Mose and Chiatsilla Kapinski. Although apprenticed to
his father, he learned much of his craft in London after his family
emigrated to England when he was twelve. When he was eighteen his
family came to the United States and their name was changed to Capin.
Living first in New York City, Hyman and his brothers found their way
to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Here Hyman met another young Russian
emmigrant, Dora Dobra Loon. They were married in 1896. In 1899 Hyman
became a United States citizen.

In 1905 due to Dora's health, the couple and five children moved to
Yuma, Arizona. From Yuma, which they found to be too hot, they moved
to Los Angeles, California, which they found too humid. So they came
to Tucson, Arizona. Initially the family lived in "Tent City," located
on Park Avenue about three blocks north of Speedway, which was an area
designated for newcomers with various repiratory problems. Dora's
health improved. In 1908, when their son Jake was born, the family
lived at 599 North 3rd Avenue and the children began attending
Holladay School. After son Hilliard was born in 1910, Hyman took a
job as tailor for the Army at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Here their
eighth child and youngest son, Zellie, was born. They followed the
Army to Columbus, New Mexico, where they lived from 1914-1919, and
where Hyman opened his own tailor shop [54K]. He and his family kept
the original sign [12K] for the business.

When the Army withdrew from Columbus after the capture of Pancho
Villa, the family [57K] moved to Nogales, Arizona. Hyman tailored for
Camp Steven D. Little and again opened his own shop where he would
train as many as forty tailors. It was here that he designed a basic
pattern that could be adjusted to fit all sizes. In 1922 he bought the
first of what would become a series of retail stores, the S. Leeker
Dry Goods, at 127 Morely Avenue. It was called the El Paso Store. A
second store, La Ville de Paris, was bought in 1924. As he entered the
retail trade, he adopted a business motto that always hung in the
company offices. By 1930, the family incorporated its holdings as
Capin's Department Store listing as assets the S. Leeker Dry Goods
Company (Nogales, Arizona) the Charles Dumazert Dry Goods Company
(Nogales, Arizona), and the Boston Store, Inc. [40K] ( El Paso,

Hyman Capin died in 1935 in Tucson where he had moved after retiring
and leaving the operation of the stores in the hands of his sons and
sons-in-law. The family expanded their business holdings as the Capin
Mercantile Corporation (1949) contributing to a wide variety of
charitable and civic causes [66K]. A July 23, 1997, interview with
Zellie Capin, Hyman and Dora Capin's youngest child, provides
information about the family and its life in Nogales, Arizona.



Newpaper articles about Hyman Capin, the founder of the Capin
Mercantile Company