Eleven-year-old John Ashton, Jr. died this date, March 30th, in 1852 of Marasmus* and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. A funeral was held at the family’s residence, no. 9 Ronaldson Street on Easter Sunday, April 4th. The friends of the family were invited to attend the service at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It is likely that a couple of the attendees were the Ashton’s Ronaldson Street neighbors, William Still (Underground Railroad) and the Reverend Benjamin Templeton, pastor of the Second African Presbyterian Church.
Ronaldson Street (now Delhi Street) is a small alley-type thoroughfare that runs from South St. to Bainbridge Street between 9th and 10th. The majority of the men living on Ronaldson worked as waiters as did John Ashton, Sr. Going south on the street it ran into the vast Ronaldson Cemetery that no longer exists. William Still wrote that Ronaldson Street was a street of “neat and genteelly furnished three-story brick homes, owned, occupied and paid taxes for, almost entirely by colored people . . . “**
*Marasmus (Marasamus/ Miasma) – Progressive emaciation and general wasting due to enfeebled constitution rather than any specific or ascertainable cause.
** One Day, Levin . . . He Be Free: William Still and the Underground Railroad by Lurey Khan, p. 163; Friends Review, Samuel Rhoads, vol. 13, 1860, p. 13-14.