Thirty-five-year-old William Todd died this date, July 13th, in 1849 of an enlarged heart and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Mr. Todd was a successful coachman, earning $6.50 a week which was above the average income for Black men, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. He was married to Henrietta Todd who was thirty-four-years-old at the time of Mr. Todd’s death. Ms. Todd was born in Maryland and was the mother of four children at the time of her spouse’s death, all born in Pennsylvania. The children were John (12 y/o), Martha (8 y/o), William (4 y/o) and Daniel (2 y/o). The children attended the David Ware School and the Raspberry Alley School.
It appears that Ms. Todd was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death as she gave birth to a daughter who she named Sarah the following year. This information was gathered from the 1850 U.S. Census which lists a fifth child at the age of one-year-old.
In 1847, Ms. Todd reported she worked as a domestic. In 1850, she reported that she was not employed outside the home.
In the 1850 Census, Ms. Todd reported that she and her family were residing with a young Black couple, Thomas and Margaret Pusey. He was employed as a laborer.
In 1847, the Todd family lived in one or two rooms at #8 Pleasant Avenue for which they paid a hefty rent of $7.50 a month. Pleasant Avenue (above) was a dead-end alley that ran north/south between Lombard Street and Minister Streets and between 7th and 8th Streets in center city Philadelphia. This street rarely appeared on a city street map. The ghettoization of African Americans in the city forced the poorest Black families to live on streets like Pleasant, with notoriously crowded dwellings where diseases were spread quickly. Missing from the above illustration are the piles of garbage and animal waste lying in the street, clogging the gutters with black water that was home to numerous deadly diseases. The city government would pay contractors to clean these alleys, but it rarely occurred.
William Todd died on a day where the temperature rose to an unfathomable 96°. The sunrise temperature the next morning was only 82°. This was after a week-long heat wave. The weather may have played a part in Mr. Todd’s death. He was quickly buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
Henrietta Todd lived until she was sixty-years-old, dying in 1875 of Bright’s Disease. She was buried at Olive Cemetery.