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Nellie Semphroch
Fictional Character
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): How Few Remain
through
The Victorious Opposition
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1874
Date of Death: 1937
Cause of Death: Blood poisoning
Occupation: Coffeeshop owner, former prostitute
Spouse: Mr. Semphroch (deceased)
Hal Jacobs (deceased)
Children: Edna Semphroch
Clara Jacobs
Relatives: Armstrong Grimes (grandson)

Nellie Semphroch, later Nellie Jacobs (born Nellie Houlihan) (1874-1937) was a woman who lived her whole life in Washington, DC. In that time, she rose from prostitute to coffee shop owner, to spy, to national hero.

When she was a little girl, Nellie endured the Confederate bombardment of Washington during the Second Mexican War. She was nearly killed by Alfred von Schlieffen's horse as the German officer was returning to his embassy.

Many years later she became a prostitute who had the nickname of 'Little Nell'. Nellie despised both her profession and its unsavoury clients, such as Bill Reach. This led to a hatred of men in general (the only exceptions she later made were for Hal Jacobs, her second husband and Merle Grimes, her son-in-law). She conceived a daughter by one of her customers, who was decent enough to marry her and enable Nellie to run a coffee shop so that she could give her daughter, Edna, a respectable mother. Her husband died not long after Edna was born.

During the Great War, when Washington was occupied, Nellie's coffee shop became popular with Confederate soldiers. Nellie was soon convinced by Hal Jacobs to spy on her clients and pass on her intelligence to him. She continued to do this for the duration of the war, earning the Order of Remembrance, First Class afterwards.

Nellie was horrified to learn that Reach was Washington's spymaster. When he began making lewd comments to Nellie in her coffee house and constantly referring to her slyly as 'Little Nell', she asked the Confederates to keep him away. During the bombardment which predeced the US Army's retaking of the city, Nellie killed Reach in self-defense. She carried the secret of the fact to her grave, though she did try to tell Edna on her deathbed (to Edna's disbelief; it was commonly assumed that Reach had merely become one of the many civilian casualties sustained by Washington in the bombardment).

After the war Nellie married Hal Jacobs and was surprised when she bore him a daughter, Clara Jacobs. She continued to operate her coffee shop until 1937, when she died of blood poisoning contracted by carelessness in preparing a chicken. Her daughters took over management of her coffee shop.

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