Nine-year-old Simon Carson died this date, September 16th, in 1841 of an “Inflammation of the Brain” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The child’s father was Robert Carson, a porter, who died six months before Simon passed away. Mr. Carson died on March 26, 1841 of a “Lumbar Abscess” at thirty-one years old. He was also buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
The identity of the child’s mother is not definitive. Records suggest the child’s mother was Hannah Carson who was employed as a dressmaker, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. She was thirty-six years old at the time of her son’s death. She had another son, Joseph, who was six years old at the time of his brother’s death. Both children attended the Raspberry Alley School.
At the time of the son’s death, the family lived in one room on Paper Alley, only two blocks north of what is now Philadelphia City Hall in the center of the city. The narrow alley, now known as Cuthbert Street, was an unpaved dirt backstreet that flooded when it rained and iced over in the winter, making it difficult to navigate. The Carsons paid about $2.75 a month in rent, according to the 1847 Census. The red pin in the map below shows the location of the Carson home.
Shepard Gibbs was the gravedigger for the Bethel Burying Ground at this time. He likely reopened the grave of Mr. Carson and interred Simon with his father. This was not an unusual practice for cemeteries during this era.