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 life turned out to be anything but dull. The last years resulted in several changes to his will and the family owning and occupying two separate and very different mausoleums in this cemetery.

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, which wasn’t the best nickname since her maiden name was Kite. Perhaps being eager to change her name, 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 Adam and Eve, as well as Noah and his 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 lived past the age of 65. Equally remarkable was that this photograph of all eight brothers could be taken in their later years. (Jacob is at the lower left.)

The occupation of Jacob’s father is unknown except he took the time to serve 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 took an oath to 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. At some point Paul joined Bill in the awning business.

They didn’t seem to work well with their father in business. There was a 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, known as 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, Abbie Hoeflich Foster, his executrix.

Jacob even specified the simple and plain style of mausoleum he wanted, designating $2000 to pay for it. While it may look more like a bunker, Abbie complied. It was built into the side of a hill in Section 202 on the Philadelphia side (the one on the right in the photo below). The name “Hoeflich-Foster” is inscribed over the door because it would also be used by her and her husband’s family. It is the only mausoleum here where each of the names of those interred are inscribed on the door.

Pneumonia took Jacob’s life in 1895. Abigail promptly appealed the change of executrix to their 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.” It wasn’t just a mother-daughter feud, however; she wrote the same statement 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 at that time.

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. Despite the hurt she seemed to harbor, Abigail stated her desire for it to be the resting place of Jacob, herself, and the three children. Did she not remember that Abbie was to build a mausoleum for her father? Neither was she aware that her estate was appraised at only $5,000. She didn’t specify that it resemble a chapel, but that’s what happened. The name on the doorway arch reads “A.A. Hoeflich.”

The only others to use her mausoleum were Paul and his wife plus Bill. (Bill’s wife was buried elsewhere.) The brothers most likely worked with the trust company to have it built. The Hoeflich-Foster mausoleum included Jacob, Abbie, her husband, and three of her four children.

Jacob is one of six Confederate soldiers confirmed to be buried at Mount Moriah. Two who were treated at Philadelphia hospitals are buried in the Soldiers’ Lot. Three others in private lots have their own “Notable” life stories: George Thomas Berry, Orville Jackson Moat and Sylvester T. Bunting.

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

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