Fifty-eight-year-old Barbara Ludlow died this date, January 11th, in 1848 of Typhoid Fever and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Ms. Ludlow was the matriarch of a large family, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. Typhoid Fever is a bacterial disease transmitted by the ingestion of food or water that is contaminated with the feces of an infected person and contains the bacterium Salmonella enterica. This disease has been a deadly human disease for thousands of years, flourishing in conditions of poor sanitation, crowding, and poverty. After becoming infected, the victim develops a high fever and becomes exhausted and emaciated due to constant diarrhea and the perforation of the intestines. The patient develops septicemia, slips into a coma and dies.
The photograph above illustrates the problem that poor people faced getting clean water. The pump is being fed from a well that is next to outhouses. If the cesspool was not properly built or maintained, human waste likely seeped into the drinking and cooking water.
The red arrow above points to the exact location of #7 Little Pine Street that by 1856 became 707 Minster Street. It was a two-story wood frame house that housed three families, according to the 1847 Census. It appears that Ms. Ludlow’s family of nine lived in the 12’x12′ room on the first floor. The second floor was home to two separate families who paid rent by the week. The Ludlow family paid $3 a month. The 1847 census taker commented that there had been much sickness in the family and that “part” of the family members “sleep on the floor.”
The 1847 Philadelphia African American Census shows that there were eight other members of the family in addition to Ms. Ludlow. Five adult males were employed as waiters, woodsawyers and a coachman. The two adult females were employed as a barber and a washerwoman. The young children went to local schools – one of which was right across the street from their home. All of the adults regularly attended religious services.
Little Pine Street was a narrow two-block long thoroughfare located between 6th and 8th Streets and Pine and Lombard Streets. In 1847, it was home to at least 52 Black families consisting of 134 members. Nineteen men and woman reported having been enslaved previously.
Ms. Ludlow was buried at Bethel Burying Ground on a brutally cold day where the temperature sank to two degrees above zero.