Fifty-eight-year-old Rebecca Boardley died this date, May 21th, in 1848 of Cancer and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. “Rheumatic Metastasis” is an archaic term no longer used. It most commonly meant cancer of the brain but could also mean cancer of the heart.
When Ms. Boardley was forty-seven-years-old, eleven years previous, she reported her occupation as the proprietress of a clothing store according to the 1838 African American Census. Additionally, it records that she was not born into enslavement and owned $1,000 in personal property or approximately $5,000 in today’s currency. It is likely she was born in Delaware.
In the 1847 African American Census, Ms. Boardley reported her occupation as dressmaker and tailoress. She resided at 361 Lombard Street Alley near the intersection of Lombard Street and South 10th Street in the Cedar District of center city Philadelphia.
Ms. Boardley was a widow and the matriarch of a large industrious family. Her seven adult children and their spouses lived with her and were employed as a lathe turner & wood carver, a tailor, two waiters and two who worked as domestics. All could read and write and attended religious services at Bethel A.M.E. Church (now Mother Bethel).