Title: Confederate Army Private, prisoner of war, Civil War; home furnishings/hardware store owner
Birthdate: April 27, 1823
Death Date: October 9, 1895
Plot Location: Section 202, Lot 10

Screenshot (1997)

Some of the most interesting moments in Jacob’s life were in his first and his last days, although his war service was also memorable. The last years resulted in several changes to his will and the family having two different mausoleums, which will be explained later.

His father, Paul, came from Nuremberg, Germany and was living in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania when he married a Philadelphia girl named Catherine. Everyone called her Kitty, but her maiden name was Kite. She went from Kitty Kite to Kitty Hoeflich on October 19, 1809, when she was 16 years old. 

They must have taken to heart the instruction given to Noah’s wife to “be fruitful and multiply.” Kitty became pregnant a month later, and over the next 26 years she gave birth to eight boys and six girls. All of them were born in Chambersburg, and Jacob was right in the middle: the seventh of the 14, and the fourth among the eight boys. What’s remarkable, for that time period, was that each of the 14 children lived well into adulthood and most were over 65.

Paul’s occupation is unknown but he served in the War of 1812. That would explain the relatively long gap between the births in 1812 and 1816. He saw the birth of his 14th child in 1836 but he died five months later. By that time Jacob was a teenager and there were six siblings older than him who could look after the family. 

Kitty and most of her family migrated to Philadelphia by the 1840s. That’s where Jacob met and married Abigail Ann Hampton on April 27, 1848. They had their first child, Paul, the following year, then moved to Richmond, Virginia. Five more children were born there but only two, Bill and Abbie, lived past 18 months. 

His occupation in the 1850 and 1860 census reports was a “confectioner” but he was also a sympathizer of the Southern way of life. He was listed on an 1850 Virginia Slave Schedule as having one enslaved boy, age 9, but not on any such listing in 1860. He did swear allegiance to the Confederacy in 1864 when he joined Company F of the 2nd Regiment, Virginia Reserves. Jacob was 41 when he became a prisoner of war.

After he was released in July of 1865, the Hoeflich family returned to Philadelphia. Jacob set up a confectionary store on Lombard Street that lasted a few years, then in 1874 he made and sold picture frames. In 1877 he moved to 2204 South Street where Bill helped him run a home furnishings store. 

A few years later Bill left to make awnings. Paul, who had stayed in Richmond, moved back and worked most of the 1880s with his father, who changed the store’s focus to hardware. That was Jacob’s last and best business effort, remaining there until he died in 1895. 

There was some kind of falling out with his sons which prompted him to amend his will more than once. Jacob had a simple will drawn in 1879 where his wife was executrix and received his entire estate. In 1889 he wrote an amendment (called a codicil) where he requested that, if she survived him, she should place the estate in trust “as our children are not fit to handle it.” That was changed in 1892  to leave a small share to Bill’s daughters and make his daughter, Abigail Hoeflich Foster, his executrix.

Jacob even specified the type of mausoleum he wanted, designating $2000 to pay for it. Abbie had it built in Section 202 on the Philadelphia side, and had the name “Hoeflich-Foster” inscribed over the door because it would also be used by her and her husband’s family.

Jacob died of pneumonia in 1895, after which Abigail appealed the change of executrix to his daughter, but she lost. She drafted her own will in 1904, leaving one dollar to Abbie “because of the unkind manner in which she has treated me, her mother.” She wrote the same regarding Bill and Paul.

She then directed that her estate be managed by the Girard Trust Company to benefit her grandchildren. However, by the time she died in 1912, Bill had one living daughter, Paul never had children, and Abbie had only one of her three children alive.

One other directive was to spend at least $5,000 and up to $10,000 on her own mausoleum on her lot on the Yeadon side. She stated her desire for it to be the resting place of Jacob, herself, and the three children. What she didn’t know was that her estate was appraised at only $5,000, and that the unique structure would resemble a chapel.  The name above the door reads “A.A. Hoeflich.”

The only others to use her mausoleum were Paul and his wife plus Bill, since Bill’s wife was buried elsewhere. The Hoeflich-Foster mausoleum includes Jacob, Abbie, her husband, and three of her four children.

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

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