One-year-old Isaac Miller died this date, December 30th, in 1850 of a fever due to an unknown cause and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. He was the only child of Robert (29) and Rachel Miller (24). Mr. Miller was born in Delaware and Ms. Miller in Pennsylvania, according to the 1850 Federal Census. Robert was a shoemaker who worked in a shop compared to his home which is a sign of a talented craftsman. He worked at 94 N. 5th Street very near what is now known, as Independence Hall.
The Millers lived at 30 Buckley Street, now Cypress, near the intersection of 5th and Spruce Street only four blocks away from his workshop. He may have made $5-$6 a week or today’s equivalent of $125 – $150. It is unknown if Ms. Miller worked outside the home.
“The Shoemaker”, Watercolor Painting by Jacob Lawrence (1945)
Six-year-old John Wallace died this date, December 14th, in 1845 of Tuberculosis and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The child lived with his parents Jane and Loveless Wallace at 195 1/2 Lombard Street near the Lombard Market in old Philadelphia. It was there that Mr. Wallace worked as a carter who owned his own cart. Ms. Wallace worked as a day worker. The Wallaces paid $5 a month for the rent of a shed in the rear of 195 Lombard Street. The Wallaces tragically lost a two-year-old son (William) in July of 1844 to fever. He was also buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
Mr. Wallace pushed a cart that delivered goods to the two block long Lombard Market which was an open air shed like the original Reading Terminal above. Vendors of all sorts would daily sell their goods (meats, vegetables, cider, etc.) to the public. Mr. Wallace would cart these goods from their storage or delivery wagons to the individual stands under the roof of the bustling market place.
The arrows point to the Lombard Market. The Wallaces lived very close to the southern end of the market.
The six-year-old daughter of George (54) and Ann (31) Garret died this date of Tabes Mesenterica*, December 10th, in 1846 and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The child’s first name was not recorded. According to the 1847 African American Census, the 1850 Federal Census, and city directories George was employed as a porter and Ann as a laundress. Ann may have been George’s second wife as there are young adult dependents in addition to young children listed in both the 1847 and Federal censuses.
Both George and Ann were once enslaved and gained their liberty through manumission (1847 AA census). The Garret family lived at 8 Burd’s Court (sometimes written as “Bird’s/Birds”). Burd’s is now named now Alder Street located between 10th and 11th Streets and Locust and Spruce Streets in center city Philadelphia. The reported rent for this room was $2.80 a week. This would equate to about $75 in today’s currency. If Mr. Garret was lucky he would bring home $4-5 a week in income or $100-$125 currency. Ms. Garret might earn $1-$2.
The above photo is of Alder Street (Burd’s Court) as it currently looks. The 1847 African American census reported that 164 African Americans lived on this small thoroughfare Street in 1847. Many are interred at Bethel Burying Ground
*Tabes Mesenterica is an obsolete term that was used for a tubercular infection of the lymph glands in the abdomen; a wasting disease.
Two-day-old Baby Gilbert (no first name given) died this date, December 5th, in 1844 of a hemorrhage and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground on December 7th. The infant’s parents, Henry H. (29) and Elizabeth (24) lived in a room at 9 Green Street a small thoroughfare between Pine and Spruce Streets and 4th and 5th Streets in center city Philadelphia. The 1847 African American Census and city directories report Henry worked as a waiter and Elizabeth as a laundress. It appears that there were no other children in the family at this time. However, three years later Elizabeth did give birth to a daughter and named her “Anna.”
Henry was born in Maryland according to the Federal Census. He tragically died ten years later (10/29/54) and was also buried at Bethel Burying Ground; hopefully near his son.
“Black Family” (artist unknown)
Eight-year-old James Furrow died this date, December 3rd, in 1853 of Tuberculosis and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. James and his parents, Arnold and Pleasant, lived at 8 Lombard Row near the intersection of 7th and South Streets in center city Philadelphia. Lombard Row no longer exists.
Arnold was a “huxter” or peddler according to the 1847 African American Census and Pleasant was a domestic day worker. She had given birth to James in Wilmington, Delaware. One of them was born into enslavement and paid $375 to end their captivity. The other adult was not born to enslaved parents. It appears that Arnold’s father, Joseph, lived with them for a period of time. He died in September of 1853 at 60 years old from an ulcer and was also buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
Arnold Furrow was one of the many African American peddlers that sold their goods walking the streets of the city. One of the more common items they sold was oysters. According to historian Gary Nash, “Black Philadelphians had a virtual monopoly on oyster and clam selling.(Forging Freedom, p. 215)