The one-year-old unnamed daughter of William Chambers died this date, November 5th, in 1846 of Pertussis or Whooping Cough. I was unable to find the name of the child’s mother in the very few public documents available. The 1847 Philadelphia African American Census reports that the Chambers were not native to Pennsylvania and that they had a son under the age of five. Mr. Chambers was employed as a stevedore or a porter who worked on the docks loading and unloading ships on the Delaware River or Schuylkill River docks. Ms. Chambers worked in the home.
The map above shows the approximate location of the Chambers’ home at 30 Quince Street located between Lombard and Walnut Streets and 11th and 12th Streets. The family lived in a 12’x12′ room, for which they paid $1.75 with an approximate 2018 value of $57.37. The Chambers reported to the 1847 Census taker that they owned $50 in personal property which is equivalent to $1,639.21 in 2018.
Quince Street in 1847 was home to thirty-one Black families including the Chambers family. It was where the poor working class and the destitute lived side by side. The Black men and women on the narrow cobblestone lane worked as shoemakers, laundresses, dressmakers, coachmen, waiters, china packers, cabinet makers, undertakers and the layers out of the dead. The last being a highly respected female occupation that was the early forerunner of a funeral director. A great number of the children who grew up on Quince Street likely went to school right on their street. Ms. Diana Smith, an African American teacher, ran a school for Black children beginning in 1836. For the next twenty-five years, she would take an average of 25-30 students a year, male and female, into her home and teach them reading, writing, and math.
The Chambers family buried their baby daughter on a clear day in November where the temperature rose to 65 degrees by the late afternoon.