The unnamed seventeen-month-old daughter of John A. Warren died this date, February 7th, in 1845 of Marasmus* and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. I was unable to locate the name of the child’s mother. The 1847 African American Census is the only document where the Warren family is recorded. The reason for this may be that the family or members of the family formerly were enslaved and had escaped their captivity. This group of people did not tend to be receptive to census takers. The 1847 Census does report a total of six members in the family – four males and two females. Four family members were between 15 years and 50 years of age. There was one family member between 5 years and 15 years and one under the age of 5. Four of the family members were not native to the state of Pennsylvania.
The 1847 Census simply states the family lived on Cedar Street which we now know as South Street. There was no house number given. We do know that they paid $7.50 a month for rent which was a hefty amount and may mean they rented more than just one room. The above photo is of the three hundred block of Cedar which now is only several blocks from the Delaware River docks. Mr. Warren sold oysters for a living, so it is likely that the family lived near the eastern end of Cedar Street. Oysters were the fast food of the 18th and 19th century in Philadelphia. Mr. Warren’s income would not have been steady because of the variability of the weather and the seasonal availability of oysters. Given the high rent, other members of the family beside Mr. Warren also had to be employed.
The Warrens’ baby girl died on a day that saw the end of a three-day snow and ice storm that deposited up to twelve inches of snow locally. Traveling within the city was practically impossible. The body at least would have been wrapped in a sheet and kept in the family’s room or apartment. The family may have had a small coffin made.
*Marasmus is caused by starvation or a diet totally absent from necessary nutrition. Apart from weight loss, long-term effects of Marasmus in children include repeated infections. Diarrhea, measles, or respiratory infections are serious complications that can be fatal in a child with this illness.