Ten-year-old Elizabeth Lewis died this date of “Acute Bronchitis” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Her parents, David and Sarah had three other children, Ellinor, Margaret and Charles. Mr. Lewis worked as a coachman and Ms. Lewis as a laundress. Elizabeth attended the private school of Ms. Diana Smith on Prosperous Alley, a block away from her home. The Lewis family lived on Quince Street, a small thoroughfare located from Walnut to Locust Streets and between 11th and 12th Streets according to the 1847 African American Census.
Elizabeth’s teacher Diana Smith was African American and established her school in her home in 1836. She would normally have between 15 to 25 students enrolled. Many Black families sent their children to private schools. The publicly segregated “Black schools” had a ratio of 60 students to one teacher and that was one of the best ratios. (the Bird School). The white teachers assigned to these schools were “the worst in the system” and normally “neglected and despised their pupils.” (Roger Lane, William Dorsey’s Philadelphia & Ours: On the Past and Future of the Black City in America, p. 135)