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.