Twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth Melony died this date, April 4th, in 1823 of “nervous irritation” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. She lived on Lombard Street near 7th Street only a block away from Bethel Church.
The term “nervous irritation” can mean many things. After reviewing a fair amount of material it commonly meant, during this time period, a disease of the brain. It also referred to “hysteria” in women. A phenomenon that was due to ignorance and a misogynistic culture. For further reading, I found “Sex, Sickness and Slavery: Illness in the Antebellum South” by Marli F. Weiner to be helpful in understanding the disease as it related to 18th and 19th-century African American women; see pages 139-142, Some parts of this book are available online at GoogleBooks.