The one-year-old daughter of John B. Smith died of Catarrh Fever on this date, June 6th, 1848 and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The Smith family lived at the southeast corner of 10th and Christians streets where they ran a used clothing business out of their home. Ms. Smith was a seamstress and another adult in the family also worked in the store according to the 1847 African American Census. They paid $150 a year in rent. Mr. Smith reported his yearly income at $350.00.
The Smith family lived a half block from Moyamensing Hall (aka Commissioners Hall) in the middle of the 900 block of Christians Street on the south side. It was the city hall for the district and functioned as the local governmental headquarters with Alderman courts, police station, morgue, and jail. It would not have been easy or safe living for the Smiths so near the center of Irish power. In addition, the neighborhood was plagued with political party riots, gang wars and race riots that involved outright acts of savagery against Blacks. The white gangs with the monikers “Killers” and “Stingers” vandalize, raped and killed with impunity. For further information see “Hunting the Nigs” in Philadelphia: the Race Riot of August 1834 by John Runcie. It is available at http://journals.psu.edu/phj/article/view/23611/23380. Also see the 10/18/1834 edition of the National Gazette and the January 3, 1848 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.