Forty-year-old John Rumsey died on this date, February 9th, in 1824 of Bilious Fever and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Mr. Rumsey was a freeman who worked as a servant to Major Robert Gamble, U.S.M.C., who was stationed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Mr. Rumsey died at the Hospital of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. At that time, the hospital was characterized as a “wretched hovel” and “the black hole of the yard” that was no more than a wooden shed. Originally, it was calculated to hold eight patients, but on occasion was crammed with twenty-four sick and dying men. It was stated that the “hovel” was a place where “patients remained until they could gather strength to desert.”*
*http://www.navalhistory.org/2012/04/02/construction-of-first-naval-hospital; Jeffery M. Dorwart and Jean K. Wolf, The Philadelphia Navy Yard: An Illustrated History.