Twenty-seven-year-old Vincent Durham died this day January 29th, in 1841 of an “Inflammation of the Stomach” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The Durhams were a large African American family in 19th century Philadelphia. Out of surviving records, there are a total of fifteen Durhams buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Several members of the clan (including Vincent) lived on Marriott Street (now Montrose) in south Philadelphia.
Vincent Durham worked as a laborer but wanted to improve his situation by becoming a merchant marine sailor. His first step in doing this was getting his Seaman Certificate that proved he was a citizen of the United States. This certificate was an early form of a passport that also stated that Mr. Durham was a free Black man and not enslaved.
Tragically, Mr. Durham did not see his dreams fulfilled. He received his Certificate in July of 1839 and passed away a year and a half later. He is buried with a large number of his family members.