Title: Centenarian, stenographer
Birthdate: December 15, 1874
Death Date: October 17, 1975
Plot Location: Section 136, Lot 79

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The title of “Oldest Old Maid” was proudly claimed by Mary Ann Crothers before she died in 1898 at age 104 because she had never been married. So far, three other Centenarians at Mount Moriah have been found to have been forever-single, and one is Agnes. The others are Katharine Rosengarten and Grace Hickman.

When Agnes was born she had a brother who was a little more than a year old. When she was a little more than a year old her sister was born in March of 1876. It was an exciting time as Philadelphia prepared to open the Centennial Exposition that ran from May to November. It was the first official world’s fair to be held in the United States and designed to coincide with America’s 100th birthday. Sadly, just before the gigantic Fourth of July celebration, the three-month old body of Susie Neubauer was buried here. 

The next child was named after his father, Lorenz, and was born just before Agnes was age 3. Then in 1881 her older brother lost his life to typhoid fever. The two who were left developed a special bond that lasted as long as they did. 

That close relationship helped them cope just as they were entering adolescence and they lost their father. He was the owner of a “public house” or saloon, as bars were known in those days. There were no newspaper reports of what exactly happened to him on a spring day in 1887, just his death certificate that said he was shot and he died from his wounds.

The family moved several times over the next few years as their mother, Susan, worked at various jobs and the children soon dropped out of school to help. Both of them would become stenographers, according to the 1910 census. Agnes was at a fertilizer plant and Lorenz was at a construction company. 

Susan was 74 when she died in 1915. That prompted the siblings to move to the Angora neighborhood in West Philly, at the northern end of Cobbs Creek Parkway, where they lived for the next 30 years. In 1920, Agnes was a stenographer for a glue manufacturer while Lorenz went into accounting at the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

By the time they were around 50 they both had government positions. In 1930 she was a stenographer for the city court; he was a clerk in a city office, then worked as a court reporter the rest of his life. Agnes retired by 1940 but lost her last sibling in 1948. They were both lifelong Presbyterians and longtime volunteers for the Salvation Army.

She stayed in the home they shared until 1959 when she moved to the Presbyterian Home for Aged Couples and Aged Men. Shown here in the early l1900s, it was located on City Avenue across from the present-day Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center. It seems an odd choice to move there, since she was neither a couple nor a man. Plus, the Presbyterian Home for Widows and Single Women was just down the street at 58th and Kingsessing Avenue but, for whatever reason, that’s not where she went.

Agnes had many friends at the home to help her celebrate her 100th birthday. She lived another ten months until it was time to be buried with her parents and siblings in the family plot. It must have been bordered with “coping,” a low concrete wall, but all that remains today is the entrance stone shown above that served as a threshold to the plot.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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