Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
Irvin S. Cobb was born in Paducah, Kentucky in 1876, of parents Joshua Cobb and Manie Saunders Cobb. Joshua was an appraiser and grader of tobacco, but would later work for the Fowler Steamboat and Wharf Boat enterprises in Paducah. Irvin's mother Marie was a tall, high spirited, vivacious woman. She and Irvin were close all their lives, and Irvin was a devoted son to her until her death in 1932.
Irvin's grandfather was a surgeon, and was the doctor to the Hawaiian Royal family. He discovered a cure for cholera during a Paducah epidemic in 1873, which gave the family a 'claim to fame.' The Saunder’s home, now gone, was located on Third Street, close to today’s post office. Irvin grew up in this home, and held many fond memories of it.
Cobb was a difficult child to manage at times. He was a restless, but very gifted student. Attending public schools, his teachers called him one of the brightest students to ever attend their classes. He soaked up adventures and stories about Paducah like a sponge. Many would resurface in his popular writings in the early 1900's. His books reflect a humor of things homegrown.
Cobb became a writer at the age of 17, when he was hired by the Paducah Daily News in 1893. He then went to the Louisville Evening Post in 1898, writing the hilarious "Sour Mash" columns. In 1901 he returned to Paducah as managing editor of the Paducah Democrat. But August of 1904 saw his return to New York City, working with the Evening Sun.
A break came when Cobb was assigned to the Russian-Japanese Peace Conference with Teddy Roosevelt as mediator. He also would cover the sex-murder trial of Harry K. Thaw, that centered around his chorus girl wife, Evelyn Nesbit, who had been the mistress of famous architect, Stanford White.
Cobb died of dropsy in New York after a two week coma on March 10, 1944. He is buried in Paducah, under a large stone with a dogwood tree nearby.