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Jacob Grafflin


The following was found at the Maryland Historical Society. It was written by his George G. Buck, a descendant of Jacob on July 1, 1940.
John Jacob Grafflin, or as he always called himself, Jacob Grafflin, my grandfather's father came to Baltimore from Philadelphia before 1789. He was a son of Johan Cristopher Graeflein and Eva Walter, whose first husband was a Carson, and was born in Philadelphia March 4th, 1769.

John Jacob's father came to the U.S. in 1751 from Hinerbein, Heidenhoim Dominion, Germany. He died in 1775. The name, which finally became Grafflin, was at various times spelled Grafley, Graeflein, Graffley and Graflin.

In 1789, the firm, Grafflin & Hardester is mentioned in Sharf's Chronicles as being that to which Samuel Ready, later the Founder of the Samuel Ready School, was apprenticed. Jacob Grafflin was the senior member of that firm; its business was sailmaking.

In 1793, Jacob Grafflin married Mary Frymiller. By her he had eight children, six girls and two boys. All but three of the their children, including the two boys, died within a few years of their birth. His wife died May 2nd, 1807, and on July 12, 1809, he married Sarah Herring, daughter of Ludwig Herring.

By Sarah Herring, who was my grandfather's mother, he had fourteen children, five girls and nine boys. Two of the girls and one of the boys by this marriage died at an early age.

He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Mechanical Company, a civic and military organization, and during the War of 1812, was a Captain under Lt. Commander Kennedy Long.

His first known place of residence was on Pratt Street, near Charles, in 1796, and until about 1815, when he moved to Franklin Street, a few doors west of Eutaw. There he lived for about ten years and then went to the country, where he had a place of perhaps 25 acres, which he called "Bristle Hill." That place was where Easterbrook Park is today, near the corner of Bentalou Street and Baker Avenue. "Brsitle Hill" survived until the early years of this century.

Jacob Grafflin retired, according to my mother, when he was about 45 years old. At that time, his oldest son, Jacob, was only three years old, so that there were no successors to him in his business among his children. The firm, Grafflin & Hardester, became Hardester & Hooper, the Hooper being William, my grandmother's father. Jacob Grafflin's son, John C., was the only one of his sons who, as a young man, went into the sailmaking business; his firm was Loane & Grafflin, which was dissolved in 1859. John then started the Baltimore Bag Factory 'upon his individual account.'

Jacob Walter Grafflin, his oldest son, was in the 'morocco dressing', a sort of tanning business, as was Stephen Decatur Grafflin and John Clark, his son-in-law. My grandfather, George Washington, was in dry goods, bag manufacturing with his brother John in 1860, but not as a partner until 1868, and finally fertilizer. Christopher, in 1873, was Superintendent of the Navassa Phosphate Company, one of Grandpa's interests in Wilmington, N.C. Charles Carroll went to Texas before the Civil War, where he was for some years an officer of The Texas & N.D. R.R. Co., then Auditor of the Erie R.R. in New York, when I knew him in the 80's, he was a clerk; William H., the youngest child, was in Colorado, Southern Maryland, and finally Washington D.C., where he died in 1922. Both Christopher, of whom Mother was very fond, and William were officers in the Union Army during the War. All of the sons were married and all had children.

His daughters, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Sally, by his first wife, married respectively, Dr. Robert C. Hall, Columbus Cook, and John Kirby. Rebecca and Julia Ann, children of his second marriage, were married to John Clark and Louis Kalbfus. All of them made their homes in Baltimore except the Halls, who went to Dayton, Ohio. Catharine was the grandmother of Gussie Cook (Mrs. Jeffries Buck).

Jacob was a very religious man and a Methodist. This is a sentance from a composition written by him, describing his wife's last illness when he was 77 years old:-

While Grandpa was at Dickinson College, his father lost most of his money as endorser of a note. After the death of his wife, Sarah in 1846, he lived at Bristle Hill with his daughter, Emily, who never married and ended her days at 1123 St. Paul Street, in the 1880s. About 1849, they came back to the City to live, and were with his daughter, Julia Ann Kalbfus, 336 Lexington Street, where he died September 3rd, 1859. Julia was a tyrant, according to Mother and Aunt Anne, and tried to get more money from the old man than he was willing to give her. I quote a few sentences from a letter to her when he was 87: "I have funds from the sale of Western lands, but can't use them except for putting up iron rails around the lot in Loudon Park"; "I don't wish to expend beyond my income from rents, that at my depature there may be enough to pay my debts and other expenses"; "I cannot get on with the present generation"; "I am astonished at what I daily see, but say nothing about this as I am bound by my religion to forgive and forget".

There was a family burial ground at Bristle Hill, but before his death, Jacob Grafflin removed the remains of all "the dear departed" to Loudon Park Cemetery, where he is also buried.


NOTE: I visited Loudon Park with my mother. The folks there were very friendly and helpful. The grave of Jacob was located and the large obelisk shaped stone is extant, as are the stones of many members of the family. As with most of the lots in the area, the foundation for the iron fence is present but the fence itself no longer exists. (This made me sad after having read George Buck's account.) There are no markers for John Clark and Rebecca Grafflin, his wife (my ancestors) and no evidence that there ever were. I was able to verify that they are buried there. Loudon Park is sending me the information on having a stone put in place.