Jacob was a son of George B. Kiehl and Lavina Trion. He grew up in Ashland, Schuylkill County, Pa.
Sometime as a young man, he had a terrible accident as a lamp-lighter resulting in burns to his back with scars and pain that lasted the rest of his life.
Jacob was the publisher of the Ashland News newspaper from 1895 to 1904. With the town in an economic slump at the turn-of-the-century and Jacob's persistent pain, a portion of the family moved to Philadelphia for work. This was probably in September 1903. Jacob came to Philadelphia with his mother Lavina (nee Trion) and sisters Lavina and Mary Ella. Jacob found work as a printer. His father George B. Kiehl remained in Ashland with his daughter Annie (married to George Staehle) and George Kiehl, Jr. who was a baker.
"Uncle Jake" was loved by his family and he helped them buy the house at 1449 N. 29th St. He was a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War by virtue of his father's military service. Jake never served in the military. He died at age 51 from "carcinoma right shoulder and arm" as a result of the lamp-lighting accident. Jake never married.