If you circle the Moritz Mausoleum three times while chanting “Emo, Emo, Emo” and then look into the mausoleum you’ll see the red glowing eyes of “Emo” staring back at you.
One of the local legends I’ve had a lot of people ask me about is that of Emo’s Grave. Emo’s Grave is a mausoleum located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. The tomb is visible from 4th Street just East of 990 East. You won’t find the name Emo anywhere on the mausoleum, however as it, in fact, belonged to a man by the name of Jacob Moritz.
Jacob Moritz was born in Ingenheim, Germany in February of 1849 and immigrated to the United States in September of 1865 at the age of 16. After spending a couple of years in New York City working at the F.M. Schaefer Brewing Co, he moved to St Louis where he worked for Anheuser-Busch. Determined to try his hand at mining he eventually made his way to Helena, Montana. It’s unknown whether he wasn’t successful at mining or just wanted to get back into brewing but in 1871 he moved to Salt Lake City and opened the Little Montana Brewery. Within a few years, Jacob’s brewery became immensely successful, and he built a much larger, state of the art brewery on 10th East and 5th South, renaming it the Salt Lake City Brewing Co. Part of what was once a large brewery is still standing and is now the Anniversary Inn.
Over his 39 years in Salt Lake City, Jacob Moritz grew his brewery to be one of the largest outside of Milwaukee. His beer was sold throughout Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and even parts of California. At the height of his success, he also owned over 36 saloons. In 1889 he married Lahela Louisson from Hawaii, and she joined him in Salt Lake. They were both extremely active with the local Jewish community; he served as President of Temple B’nai Israel, and she was the leader of the Hebrew Ladies’ Relief Society. Not only was he a successful brewer and businessman, but he was also involved in Utah politics, with the Liberal Party. Despite the fact that he made his fortune by the production and sale of alcohol, and also that he was involved in the less popular liberal politics, he was embraced by Utah’s Mormon population and from all accounts was extremely popular and well liked. In October 1909 he was issued a passport and shortly after that he and Lahela left the United States to go to Europe. Mr. Moritz had been in poor health for a few months, and they thought the rest, along with the local mineral springs would do his health good. By June of 1910, they had made their way to Germany, and it was there that Jacob Moritz succumbed to the effects of lung and stomach cancer. His wife and siblings were present when he died at the age of 61. And here is where the legend of Emo’s grave begins.
According to the newspaper article that announced his death, Lahela had her husband cremated, with the intention to inter his remains in a mausoleum located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Lahela returned to the United States from Europe on the 23rd of July. Jacob’s remains were sent “in bond” and arrived on the 25th. His remains were interred in the mausoleum sometime after July 31st, but I could find no mention of a funeral or any ceremony.Shortly after his remains were placed in the mausoleum the rumors about “Emo’s grave” began. It’s not known who or what started these rumors, or where the name Emo originated. Lahela remarried not long after Jacob’s death and moved with her new husband to California. Eventually, Jacob’s remains were removed and given to his family, but it’s not known where they were eventually reinterred. I suspect they were probably taken to California and possibly even buried with Lahela upon her death in 1959.