Three-year-old Caroline Alexander died this date, December 20th, in 1821 and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. She lived with her family on Burd’s Alley* (now Alder Street) near 10th and Spruce Street. Her cause of death was Scarlatina or as we know it in modern times as Scarlet Fever. It is a disease that would often prove fatal until the invention of antibiotics. Without the drug, the bacteria would invade the kidneys and the heart with painful and devastating results. The victim of the disease was highly contagious. It would spread quickly and often kill scores in the same neighborhood.
* Often mistakenly transcribed as “Birds Alley.”