Two-year-old William Wallace died this date, July 11th, in 1844 of Catarrh Fever and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Catarrh is an inflammation of the mucous membrane, particularly of the head and throat.
The child’s parents were Jane and Loveless Wallace. Mr. Wallace’s first name is spelled “Lovelis” in city directories. Ms. Wallace was employed as a “day worker” and Mr. Wallace as a “carter” who owned his own wagon. According to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census, the family appeared to be relatively well off financially. They reported that they owned $2,000 in personal property which would be equivalent to approximately $54,500 in today’s U.S. currency. In addition, Mr. Wallace reported that he earned $450 a year, almost twice the average yearly earnings by a Black man laboring in 1844 Philadelphia.
The Wallace family lived at 195 1/2 Lombard Street which was located between 6th and 7th Streets on Lombard, less than a block away from Bethel AME Church. Their rent was $5 a month for one room that was home to three adults and two children, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. One of the adults (unidentified) was born enslaved and purchased his or her freedom for $200.
The last mention of Loveless and Jane Wallace in public records is in the 1848 Philadelphia City Directory. I am unable to locate any records on the family after that date.
Their young son William was buried on an “intolerably hot” day in July. Tragically, the Wallaces lost another son, 6-year-old John, on December 14, 1845, of Tuberculosis. He was interred next to his younger brother at Bethel Burying Ground.