Three-month-old Mary E. Gibbons died this date, May 16th, in 1843 of Tuberculosis and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. James Gibbons is likely the father of the baby girl. Not only was he a successful carpenter, he was also a joiner. A joiner is a skilled craftsman who constructs the wooden components of a building, such as stairs, doors, and windows. The 1847 Philadelphia African American Census shows the Gibbons family at this time consisting of four adults – two men and two women. Three out of the four were formerly enslaved. They collectively paid for their freedom a total of $1,250 or $38,955 in modern currency. Both men were carpenters and the women were employed as a domestic and a dressmaker. They all regularly attended church services. The child’s mother is not identified by name.
The Gibbons family rented the three-story brick building at 163 Pine Street for $5 a month or $155 in modern day currency. The above newspaper announcement shows that Mr. Gibbons had moved his carpenter shop to his home in 1846. Tragically, Mr. Gibbons would pass away three years later in June of 1849 at 53 years old.
Three-month-old Mary E. Gibbons died on an unusually warm day in May where the temperature rose to over 80 degrees. She was buried at Bethel Burying Ground most likely the following day that saw a change in the weather to “raw and rainy.”