Ms. Ledman gave birth to a dead son after it was asphyxiated during birthing on May 6th in 1851. Ms. Ledman’s spouse was Abel Ledman.
Tragically, Ms. Ledman gave birth to a stillborn child fifteen months previously due to convulsions on February 8, 1850. (see Appendix)
A year previous to this occurrence, Ms. Ledman gave birth to a female stillborn child on January 5, 1849. (see Appendix)
All of the children were buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
Abel Ledman and his spouse did not participate in any local or national censuses. They also refused to have their names and addresses published in the city directories over the decades. It is probable that one or both of the adults were fugitives from slavers.
After the Civil War in 1868, there is a lone entry for an “Abel Leadman” in a city directory in which he is listed as “colored” and a “laborer.” There are no death certificates that I can locate related to the adult Ledmans. The couple’s last name has been also spelled “Leduum,” “Ledaman,” and “Leadman.” His first name has also been spelled “Able.”
Resolved that the defective retaining wall of the African A.M.E. Church Burying Ground west of 411 Queen Street . . . are on account of their condition, nuisances prejudicial to public health, and as such the owners or agents thereinof have failed to abate the nuisances in the manner hereinafter specified in accordance with the law, and the rules of the Board.
Source: Philadelphia Board of Health Minutes, 5 May 1885; entry #1521, p. 273.
Eighteen-year-old Henry Harman died this date, May 1st, in 1853 of Tuberculosis and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. At the time of his death, he likely still lived in the “Colored Division” of the Pennsylvania House of Refuge. The “House” initially was established for white “juvenile delinquents” in 1825. It took another twenty-five years before the authorities created one for Black boys and girls. The residents usually were arrested for petty crimes or vagrancy. Sentences were indeterminate.
The above is from the 1850 U.S. Census and shows Mr. Harmon as a resident of the “Colored House of Refuge.” He may have been infected with the Tuberculosis in this institution that proved to be fatal to him.
Below is an undated photograph of two African American boys at the “Refuge.”*
There is no certainty in identifying Henry’s parents. Looking at the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census, the most likely are Levi and Harriet Harman living at 19 Middle Alley. Both were born in Delaware.
Eighteen-year-old Henry Harman died on a day where the weather “was truly spring-like and lovely – every way appropriate to the first of May.”** He was buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
**Philadelphia Inquirer, 1 May 1853.