Forty-five-year-old Sidney Stewart* died this date, July 7th, in 1853 due to hemorrhaging of his lungs and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. At the time of his death, he was employed as a steward on a steamboat that traveled the Delaware River. Below are the Stewart family members as recorded by the 1850 Federal Census three years before Mr. Stewart’s death.
Ellen – (spouse) 35 years old, also referred to as Eleanor.
Mary – 12 years old
Sidney – 10 years old
Ellen – 8 years old
Amelia – 6 years old
Emeline – 4 years old
Fanny – 2 years old
Isabella – less than a year old.
The Stewarts had two other children. They had a seven-year-old daughter, Frances, who died on October 5, 1842, of Croup and who was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Ellen Stewart gave birth to a daughter, Charlotte, on May 25, 1852. Sadly, she died February 4, 1853, of a GI infection and also was buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
Isabella died in 1867 at the age of eighteen, from complications during childbirth and was buried at Lebanon Cemetery in Philadelphia.
The Stewart family lived at 25 Harmony Street, a short alleyway from Bethel Burying Ground. The purple arrow points to the location of the graveyard and the white arrow shows the location of the Stewart home. The narrow thoroughfare was home to 15 Black families containing 57 members. Some of the families owned their own home, including the Stewarts. The Black men on Harmony Street were employed in a wide variety of occupations including sailmaker, oyster seller, seaman, and drayman. The women of Harmony Street were engaged as laundresses, dressmakers, and homemakers. The Black population of Harmony Street largely was comprised of former slaves and first generation free men and women, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census.
Sidney Stewart was interred on a warm day in July at Bethel Burying Ground next to his daughters, Frances and Charlotte.
*There is one occasion in public records where Mr. Stewart’s first name was spelled ‘Syndey’ and another time where the family name was spelled ‘Steward.’