Title: Army Private, Civil War; gardener
Birthdate: April, 1839
Death Date: October 7, 1917
Plot Location: Section 141, Lot 5

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One of the most photographed sites in the cemetery is found in a corner of the Yeadon side. Within its walled borders is an old Japanese Maple tree, one of two originally planted there. The leaves that turn red in the fall shade a large, handsome monument, two crypts, and several gravestones in a plot so neatly laid out and arrayed it may have been designed by a gardener.

That was actually John Maull’s life-long profession, and perhaps he planted the trees on either side of the great stone he had erected in memory of his children. Another side of the monument lists six members of the Deens family, whose mother was the sister of John’s wife, Sarah. The concrete border and the base of both monuments are inscribed “Deens-Maull.”

John’s background was German but his exact date of birth isn’t confirmed. He served as a Private in Company A of the 119th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from August, 1862 through June, 1865. That means he participated in battles at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, the final assault on Petersburg, and the chase to Appomattox.

Sarah McClelland became John’s wife in 1869. She emigrated from Ireland in 1857, with three of her four sisters coming to Philadelphia before she did. The one that remained was Nancy, married to Harry Deens, and it was her children who became American citizens and were laid to rest in their part of the Deens-Maull family plot. Nancy died shortly after her fourth child was born. Harry was 20 years older than her and wouldn’t leave, but the children did. One of them lived with the Maulls for a time and her funeral was held at their home. All four of them are buried at Mount Moriah along with their families.

Back to the Maull side, Sarah gave birth to Samuel Maull in late 1869, followed by Sarah Elizabeth in 1876. They grew up at 4519 Wakefield Street in Germantown and could walk to Wakefield Presbyterian Church where both children were baptized. Unfortunately, both died of tuberculosis in the 1890s, just five years apart. 

Samuel died four days before Christmas in 1893, but must have been suffering for some time because he had his will drawn up in August. Although he was just 23, he already knew the value of investing, since he had acquired stocks and real estate. He left two houses at 4481 and 4483 Wakefield Street plus 15 shares in the Industry Building and Loan Association, and named his cousin, George Deens, as executor.

After Samuel died the family moved to 5019 Wakefield, where their daughter died in 1898 at just 21 years old. The parents remained in Germantown but found healing for their grief in the little garden of memories they created at Mount Moriah. John worked as a gardener the rest of his days until he died of rectal cancer. Sarah had chronic kidney disease when she died seven years later in 1924.

The two crypts are labeled “Sister” and “Brother.” On the front side of the monument underneath the names of their children there is this quote from Revelation 22:4-5: “And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.” Their mother got in one last word in the space below where she had these words inscribed: “They have not ceased to live, only ceased to live here. – Mamma.”

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

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