On this date, February 11th, in 1850 the six-month-old son of Josiah and Mary Purnell died of Pneumonia and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Josiah worked as a waiter and Mary worked performing “domestic duties,” according to the 1847 African American Census. It appears they were private servants to a wealthy family that lived on the south side of Washington Square. Josiah was born into slavery in Delaware and was freed through manumission. In the 1847 Census, Josiah, 29 years of age, is described as “Mulatto.” It also reports that Mary, 22 years of age, was born free.
Mr. Purnell’s family’s origins might have sprung from the family group known as the “Moors of Delaware.” The Moors are a tri-racial group of interrelated white, Native American and African families with origins on the Delmarva Peninsula of Delaware. Buried at Bethel Burying Ground are members of the Le Count family whose ancestry can be traced back to the early “Moors.”. See http://www.moors-delaware.com/gendat/moors.aspx.
For additional reading on the “Moors of Delaware” see Delaware’s Forgotten Folk by C.A. Weslanger.