Two and a half-year-old James Pitts died this date, June 28th, in 1848 of Cholera and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. James lived with his parents Mark (44) and Ann (33). He had a nine-year-old brother William H. Pitts. Ann took in washing to supplement the family’s income and Mark had a used clothing business at 108 N. 2nd Street. His business would grow and in several years he moved his business to 1138 South Street. The used clothing business was traditionally a business dominated by Blacks. This started to change after the Civil War when it shifted to the Jewish community. (Early History of Negroes in Business in Philadelphia, p. 19.) In 1847 there were 52 used clothing businesses owned by Black Philadelphians according to the African American census.
According to the 1850 Federal Census, Mark was born enslaved in Virginia in 1805. Ann, born in Pennsylvania, was never enslaved and was born in Pennsylvania while William was born in Philadelphia.
The Pitts family lived in a tenement room located near the corner of 17th and Market Streets (“Schuylkill 6th”) for which they paid about $9.00 a month. The living conditions of this environment likely contributed to the death of young James.