The three-year-old unnamed son of Amanda and Moses Minton died this date, September 8th, in 1849 of Scrofula* and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. At the time of their son’s death, Ms. Minton (34 years old) was employed as a laundress and Mr. Minton (49 years old) was employed as a porter, earning $6 a week, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. The family of nine lived at 17 Emeline Street for which they paid $5.25 a month. Siblings of the dead three-year-old were James (17 years old ), who also worked as a porter, David (9), Anni (7) and Amanda (4), according to the 1850 Federal Census. The other two members of the Minton family were not identified. Mr. and Ms. Minton were both born in Virginia, while all their children were born in Pennsylvania.
Emeline Street was a short, narrow thoroughfare that was crowded beyond its limits with African American families. The street was home to forty-six families, totaling one hundred seventy-one men, women and children. The adults were employed in jobs that serviced the well-off white families in the area and at the stores they frequented. Emeline Street was the address of carpenters, coachmen, private waiters, barbers, dressmakers, seamstresses and “Ladies Maids.” Half of the families lived in shelters in the rear of the houses that faced the street. Interestingly, the census taker for the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census commented that the families that did not live in the shanties were “doing well.” He or she had no comment on those in the shacks and the converted animal stables in the backyards.
The Mintons’ son was buried on a “fair day” with a high temperature of 68 degrees and a “drying wind” out of the north. Mr. Minton would succumb to stomach cancer in 1860 at sixty-four and Ms. Minton to kidney disease at seventy years old in 1874.
Emeline Street does have an awful place in Philadelphia history. It is stated that there was never a lynching of an African American in Philadelphia. That is because the white mobs would either shoot or beat to death their Black victims. This was the case on October 10, 1871. Musician Isaac Chase, thirty-four, had the gall to try to vote at his polling place when a gang of Irish thugs chased the young man back to his home at 811 Emeline Street. Chase made it inside but his front door was kicked opened and, in front of his spouse and children, Samuel was shot in the head and killed.
*Scrofula is a condition in which the bacteria that causes tuberculosis causes symptoms outside the lungs. This usually takes the form of inflamed and irritated lymph nodes in the neck.