Three-month-old Melvina Guye died this date January 28th in 1848 of Pneumonia and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. She was the only child of Amos Guye and his spouse (name unknown). Amos work as a waiter while Melvina mother was occupied as a washer of clothes. They lived in a 9’X9′ room at 28 Burd’s Court, now Alder Street.
Alder Street is bet. 10th & 11th Sts. and Locust & Spruce Sts.
The physician who signed the death certificate is asking the Bethel Church sexton to please provide, free of charge, a coffin to bury little Melvina as the family is poor and cannot afford one.
Nineteenth century African American wash woman
From Joe Certaine: January 14, 2016
Earlier today we learned that Bethel Burying Ground has been placed on the National Park Service Registry of Historic Sites.
This is a tremendous achievement and a major step in our ongoing effort to protect and preserve this publicly owned historic site. Five thousand Black Philadelphians who formed and protected the existence of our community are interred underneath the grounds of Waccacoe Playground in the Southwark community of Philadelphia.
We will soon schedule an event to thank all of those who have been helpful in our effort to achieve this important goal. Our struggle is not over. We still must impress upon the administration of Mayor Kenney the importance of this taxpayer owned historic site and the need to protect and preserve Bethel Burying Ground as a major historic asset of the City of Philadelphia.
Congratulations to the Friends of Bethel Burying Ground Coalition. Please keep up the pressure until we can achieve our goal of a permanent, protected, undesecrated, resting place for our ancestors in the African Diaspora. Well done.
The abbreviation “us” = “unspecified.” All years of death are from the 1800s. Ex: 9 Jan 25 = 1825
The data is laid out in this order: name; age; gender; cause of death; date of death; additional information.
- Johnson, Unspecified; 3 weeks; m; Catarrh Fever; 8 Dec 46; father, H. Johnson.
- Jones, Sarah: 54 years; f; TB; 8 Dec 47; resided, 20 Washington Street.
- Kerr, Unspecified: 0; us; stillborn; 8 Dec 22; father, George Kerr.
- Legs, Unspecified: 10 days; u; Fits; 8 Dec 22; mother, Lettia Legs.
- Luster, Thomas: 21 years; f; Typhoid Fever; 8 Dec 47.
- Matthews, James H.: 1 year; m; Fever; 8 Dec 47.
- Needes, London: 5 years; m; Fever; 8 Dec 24.
- Rollings, Eliza: 21 years; f; TB; 8 Dec 52; married.
- Tillman, Daniel: 5 years; m; TB; 8 Dec 24.
- White, Mary: 24 years; f; Typhoid Fever; 8 Dec 29.
Netty Butler, 70, died this date, January 5th, in 1848 of burns. The coroner officially stated she “accidently burned to death.” Ms. Butler was one of the 64 in Philadelphia during 1847-48 whose death was reported to be from burns or scalding.* She rented a room in a building on Allen’s Court which was next to Bethel Church (now “Mother Bethel”). The houses on Allen’s Court belonged “to the estate of the late Richard Allen,” according to an article in the January 31, 1848 edition of the Public Ledger. That same article reported a devastating fire to several buildings in Allen’s Court several weeks after Ms. Butler’s death. The fire started a block away and “gale” type winds blew the embers to the rooftops of Allen’s Court. This would have put the conflagration within yards of the church itself!
This 1865 map of the 6th and Lombard area shows the location of Allen’s Court (#1) and Bethel Church (#2). The name, Allen’s Court was changed to Alford St. in 1858. The structure titled #3 is the AMEZ church, “Big Wesley.”
*Susan E. Klepp, The Swift Progress of Population: A Documentary and Bibliographic Study of Philadelphia’s Growth, 1642-1859, p. 265-68.