Fifty-year-old Rev. Ralph Hite died this date, May 8th, in 1848 of a Psoas Abscess* and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Rev. Hite lived with his spouse, Mary Ann Hite and their thirteen-year-old son Ralph Hite, Jr.
Rev. & Ms. Hite had another son who was reported to be “at sea” earning $18 a month. All of the Hites were not born in Pennsylvania. Ms. Hite was occupied as a “house cleaner,” according to the 1847 African American Census. The family lived in the rear of a house on Lisle Street, which was likely a former shed or stable. For this, they paid $3.75 a month.
Rev. Hite fell ill in 1846 and had not been able to attend to his religious duties. He was put on a half salary which was $100 a year. Although not stated, I believe he was affiliated with Richard Allen’s African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Below is a current photo of Mildred Street in South Philadelphia.
Rev. Ralph Hite was buried at Bethel Burying Ground on a clear cool May day in 1848. Six years later, Mary Ann Hite would lose her nineteen-year-old son, Ralph, Jr., to Tuberculosis. He was buried at Lebanon Cemetery in December of 1854.
*A Psoas Abscess is a rare infectious disease where a Staphylococcus bacteria invades the muscles and bone of the hip. The causes are numerous and include cancer and injury. Today, the disease would be treated with antibiotics. In 1848, there was no cure for this debilitating and very painful disease.