Two-year-old Alfred Matlack died this date, November 12th, in 1848. His cause of death was “Catarrh,” which simply means fever accompanied by mucous secretions. The cause of the fever could have been Pneumonia, Influenza or even Typhus. Tragically, the Matlack family would lose another son, 8-month old Thomas to Pneumonia on May 12, 1850.
Alfred’s father, James, was a hod carrier which was a laborer employed in carrying bricks to bricklayers or stones and supplies to stonemasons. Alfred’s mother was a wash woman who took in laundry.
The Matlack family lived in an alley street called Bird’s Court, which was located between Locust and Spruce Streets and 10th and 11th Streets in the Washington Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. Their home would have been very near Pennsylvania Hospital.