Nellie Semphroch ran a coffee shop in Washington, DC after giving up prostitution. During the Great War, it was popular with officers of the Confederate occupying garrison. Nellie spied on these officers and sent their intelligence through channels set up by Bill Reach (her archnemesis) to the United States.
After the war, Nellie continued to operate the coffee shop until her death in 1937. Following her death, the establishment's operation was taken over by her daughters, Edna Semphroch and Clara Jacobs.