Jacob "Jake" Schiller * 1861-1933

JACOB "JAKE" SCHILLER was a major political figure in Stockton and East Camden from the 1880s into the mid-1920s. Sadly he was shot do death by his son William on September 18, 1933. His wife Mattie had passed away the previous February.

Jacob Schiller was born in Philadelphia in 1861 to Jacob and Christiana Werner Schiller. His father was a saloonkeeper. After the death of his mother in 1876, the elder Schiller remarried and brought his family to Camden. 

As noted above, Jacob Schiller's father was also Jacob Schiller, as was his grandfather. Born on May 10, 1832 at Schnaidt in the wine-producing area of Baden-Wuerttemberg, he came to America with his 

1852, arriving in New York in September of that year aboard the ARTHUR, which had sailed from Liverpool, England. Jacob Schiller settled in Philadelphia and operated a "hotel", the term then meaning a saloon.  Jacob Schiller married Christiana Werner on April 21, 1855 at St. Michael & Zion Lutheran Church in Philadelphia PA.

"Jake" Schiller's father

Jacob Schiller

The 1870 Census shows the Schiller family living in Philadelphia. Jacob was the middle child, coming after older sisters Christiana, 14, and Louisa, 12, and before younger siblings William, 1 and Rosa, four months of age. Rosa is named Pauline in the 1880 Census, it is unclear which name is correct.  

Sadly, Christiana Werner Schiller died on October 22, 1876 in Philadelphia of "visceral neuralgia". The elder Schiller moved to Camden where he married Phillipina Schilpp, widow of Frederick Schilpp, a "beef butcher" in the South Ward according to the 1870 census. The Schilpp's owned a home at 324 Pine Street. Frederick Schilpp was one of the founders of Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church at 523 Stevens Street, and is buried in Old Camden Cemetery.  Jacob Schiller and Phillipina Schilpp were married at Trinity Church in the late 1870s. They were living at 324 Pine Street when the census was taken in 1880. Besides Jacob, they each had at least 2 young children (Peter and Frank Schilpp; William and Pauline Schiller) to raise at the time of their marriage. Jacob and Phillipina seem to have parted company by the end of their lives, each living with one of their children. The elder Schiller died in Camden in 1905 and was buried with his first wife in Philadelphia. They were re-interred together in Frazier PA the following year.

"Jake" Schiller

United States Navy
circa 1877

His mother having died, by the summer of 1877 young Jacob Schiller joined the United States Navy. He served aboard the USS Constitution in 1877. The Constitution at that time was based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and utilized as a training ship. Later in 1878 she was used to transport the United States' exhibits to the Paris Exhibition, the "world's fair" of that year. It is unknown at this time if Jacob Schiller was a member of that crew. During his time in the Navy, however, he did pick up considerable skill as boxer, which he was not loath to put to use in his subsequent careers as a bar-owner and politician- politics being in those times a full-contact sport. On December 27, 1877 the Constitution's log reads "Lieutenant J. W. Carlin, Master F. H. Crosby, 2 schoolmasters and 148 boys sent to New York". It is probable that "Jake" Schiller was among the "boys" transferred.

After serving out his enlistment Jake Schiller returned to the Camden area and opened a saloon in Stockton, present-day East Camden, on Federal Street near 23rd Street. He soon became involved in local politics, and became a major figure in that section. Originally a Democrat, he joined the Republican party at the behest of David Baird Sr. and was a major force in Republican politics in Camden for over forty years.

Jacob Schiller was also known as one never to turn away from a fight. The Trenton Times reported on October 24, 1887 the following: 

"John Weidig, a builder, is erecting some properties near the saloon of Jacob Schiller, in Wrightsville, on the outskirts of Camden, and he recently forbade his workmen from patronizing Schiller's place. The latter yesterday attacked Weidig with an iron tool and injured him about the head. Justice Cassady subsequently held him in $500 bail to answer." 

Jacob & Mattie Schiller made their home by 1906 at 44 North 21st Street. By 1933 they had moved to 2420 Carman Street. Sadly, Jake Schiller was shot to death by his son, William, on September 16, 1933.

Besides William there was another son, Jacob Schiller Jr., and a daughter, Mattie, who married Herman F. Niessner, who also was somewhat well-known in Camden political circles in the 1920s and 1930s.

USS Constitution Log
19 July 1877 - 19 January 1878
Photo courtesy of Leslie Short, Log from National Archives

"Grand-dad Schiller and friend"

The Constitution log entry for 14 August 1877 says:  "Nickerson and Sheehan AWOL - 2/c Boys Ola M. Hampleman, Jacob Schiller and William A. Prochnow shipped at Philadelphia."  I thought that perhaps one of these young men might have been the one in the photo.  In 1870 there was an Ola Hampleman in Indiana and the name "Prochnow" seems very prevalent in Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. I did not find anyone in Philadelphia or Camden. 

 Also from the Constitution log:  27 Nov 1877:  2/c Boys W.H. Mapes and Jacob Schiller each 2 days confinement for profanity.

 21 Dec 1877:  2/c Boy Jacob Schiller confined 1 day for chewing tobacco.

 The caption on the back of the photograph  says:  "Grand-dad Schiller and friend."

Leslie Short,
January 2008

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 4, 1891

Philip Schmitz - Jacob Schiller - Samuel Collins
John S. Smith - Charles J. Welsh -
Stockton Park
Turn Verein Volksfest 

New York Times - April 7, 1898

He Is Charged With Embracery in the Shaw Murder Case

 CAMDEN, N. J., April 6- H. S. Scovel, the lawyer who started to defend Eli Shaw, the young man accused of murdering his mother and grandmother, was put on trial here today charged with embracery arising out of the Shaw case. Information coming to Judge Dixon during the second day of the Shaw trial caused the case to be suspended at that point, and an investigation by the Grand Jury resulted in the indictment of Scovel.

The indictment charged the defendant with offering Jacob Schiller, a panel juror in the Shaw case, the sum of $100 in consideration of the latter giving a verdict favorable to the defendant. But one similar case  is cited in the law books, and the penalty fixed by law is $600 fine and two years' imprisonment.

Edward Enterken, the County Jailer, the State's first witness, swore that after the Shaw panel was drawn, Scovel came to him in the county jail, and, calling his attention to the list, asked if if Schiller was all right". Enterken said he thought he was. Scovel then told the witness to tell Schiller there was $100 in it for him if he were ďall right." When the first call of the case resulted in a mistrial, the witness testified that Scovel came to him and asked him never to say anything about the $100.

Juror Schiller was the next witness, but his evidence was indeterminate. Scovel denied the charge in every particular. Eli Shaw, who was brought from his cell to testify, said he knew nothing of attempts to bribe anyone.

The case will close tomorrow. An acquittal is looked for.



Philadelphia Inquirer
April 24, 1895

Robert Selah - Samuel S. Elfreth - Citizens Fire Company No. 1 - Samuel Welch Sr. - John G. Schramm
George Doerfuss - Frederick Feil - John Hoosey - Moritz Gratz - Charles Voigt - Jacob Walz
Joseph Diehm -
Christopher L. Dietz - Frank Powell - Thomas O'Hara - Charles Kleeman - Jacob Schiller
Thomas Tracy - S.H. Long - John J. Trost - Mrs. Brown - Jacob Bendinger - William Denneller
August Muench - Gottlieb EIsener - John Costello - Mrs. Rugart - Harry G. Vennell
Charles Mangold - Louis Everly - William Cronmiller - Edward Grantz

circa 1900
Outside George Spicks' Saloon


Philadelphia Inquirer
January 2, 1907

Frederick Finkeldey Sr.
Louis Mohrman
Harry C. Kramer
Isaac V. Bradley
William H. Day
William Steinmetz
Charles H. Ellis
John Baker
Jacob Schiller
Dr. Marcus K. Mines
Edmund E. Read
Harry C. Sharp

Jersey Journal

August 11, 1908

John S. Smith
Jacob Schiller
Hugh Boyle
William Albert


Philadelphia Inquirer
January 1,1912

James E. Hewitt
John Prentice
William F. Kelly
William H. Hall
Richard Carney
Dr. Grant E. Kirk
Thomas Littlehales
A.D. Kline
Charles H. Ellis
Jacob Schiller
William B. Stephens
Arthur Stanley

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