The Reverend David Ware, 43, died this date, September 21st in 1848 and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground on the 27th. He was stricken with Tuberculosis six months before his death and bore his illness with “Christian fortitude” according to his obituary.* Rev. Ware was a school teacher, principal, Bethel Church deacon, steward, secretary, trustee and considered “one of the ablest men of his day,” according to African Methodist Episcopal history.**
Rev. Ware was a teacher and principal of his own private school. In 1847 enrollment at the school was reported to be 56 students from 4 different districts in the County and City of Philadelphia. For many years he was the superintendent of Bethel’s Sunday School with an enrollment of 300 students and a staff of 24 teachers.*** Before his death he was tasked with creating a high school for Black students. His illness prevented him from fulfilling that assignment. ****
The Ware family lived in the 600 block of Lombard Street only yards away from Bethel Church. The Philadelphia African-American Census of 1847 reported 6 total members of the family (2 males; 4 females; Under 5 Yrs., 1; Under 15 Years, 1; Under 50 years, 4). A total of five family members could read and write with all the children being educated at Rev. Ware’s school. The four females in the family were employed as a teacher, dressmaker and two were engaged as domestics.
Sadly, the Ware family suffered the loss of their son and brother, William J. Ware on November 21, 1847. He was nineteen at the time of his death from tuberculosis. The same disease that took his father. It is very likely they are buried next to each other at Bethel Burying Ground.
*Public Ledger, September 23, 1848, p.2.
** Bethel Gleanings, Rev. Joseph S. Thompson (1881), p. 40. Available at http://stillfamily.library.temple.edu/bethel-gleanings-page-1; in the same reference (p. vii), Bishop Payne makes note of Rev. Ware “beauty of penmanship” and substantial “detailed entries” as Secretary of Bethel Church for many years. As a layman, Rev. Ware was not considered a minister and Payne points this out as he laments the total lack of literacy among A.M.E. itinerant ministers. It is apparent that Rev. Ware was responsible for the recording and documenting numerous aspects of the Church’s organization during his adult lifetime.
*** A statistical inquiry into the conditions of the people of colour of the city and districts of Philadelphia, p. 21. Available at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.319510023192154;view=1up;seq=3.
**** History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Bishop David Alexander Payne, pp. 142 and 177. Available at http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/payne/payne.html