The Witcovers were among the Jewish mercantile families—others include the Hennigs, Baums, Barnetts, Levis, Blocks, and Riches—who settled in the midlands and PeeDee section of South Carolina. After General W. T. Sherman’s army torched Atlanta in 1864, the Witcovers left Georgia for Timmonsville, South Carolina, where they opened a small dry goods store. They eventually migrated to nearby Darlington.
Following her husband’s death, Dora Witcover ran a boarding house, taking in young Jewish men and managing to marry off all five of her daughters. Lena wed a German immigrant named Heinrich (Henry) Hennig. The Hennigs’ daughter, Hilda, was attending South Carolina College for women when she met Mississippian David Alexander Cohen, who was stationed at Fort Jackson, outside Columbia.