Two-month-old Joseph Thompson died this date, May 6th, in 1851 of convulsions and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The 1850 Federal Census, 1847 African American Census and the relevant city directories do not reveal any information on Joseph’s family. Educator, historian and author Charles L. Blockson claims that the African American neighborhood of Paschall’s Alley “aided and sheltered more fugitive slaves than any other section of the city until the Civil War.”*
Local historian, Harry Kyriakodis** asserts that numerous residents of Paschall Alley were Underground Railroad “agents” and that “. . . . the alley became reputed along the Underground railroad up and down the East Coast.” However, neither Blockson or Kyriakodis cite evidence of their claims.
Could the Thompson family had been fugitive slaves passing through Philadelphia to New England or Canada?
*The Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania, p. 17.