Sixty-two-year-old Hannah Claxton died this date, October 29th, in 1848 of a “Uterine Hemorrhage” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. She was employed as a “pastry cook” earning $6 a week, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. Ms. Claxton, a widow, lived in a room at 22 Ball Street for which she paid $6 a month, one week’s earnings. Six dollars in 1848 is equivalent to approximately $174 in 2018.
Ms. Claxton (red arrow) lived close to the Shippen Street Market (green arrows). Shippen Street is now named Bainbridge Street It was a two block long open-air market with stalls and was the center of the local neighborhood. It is likely that Ms. Claxton sold her baked goods there or she provided them to a huckster or vendor. It was a highly unsanitary place to live near. There were constant complaints to the Board of Health concerning the piles of rotting vegetables and spoiled meat that were thrown into the streets by the market’s vendors. After the businesses closed for the evening, the sheds became home to locals gangs who would terrorize local citizens.
Ms. Hannah Claxton was laid to rest on an autumn day that began cool and with the temperature rising to an unseasonable 68 degrees by 2pm.