Eighty-three-year-old Abraham Hall died this date, January 8th, in 1841 of “old age” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
According to the 1837 Philadelphia African American Census, Mr. Hall worked as a laborer. His spouse worked in the home. There were seven total individuals in the household and all were not native to Pennsylvania. Mr. Hall reported that he was formerly enslaved and that he bought his freedom for two hundred fifty dollars. He also purchased the freedom of his son for fifty-dollars.
The Hall family of seven lived in one room at 114 South 6th Street, across the street from what we now know as Independence Hall. For this, they paid $5 a month in rent, according to the 1837 Census.
I was unable to identify the Hall family in the 1850 U.S. Census. It is a possibility that the family members were some of the thousands of African Americans to flee the city after the barbaric white mob attacks of 1842. It is estimated that the Black population of Philadelphia decreased by 23.5% after 1842. (1)
Mr. Hall died on a mild day in January where the temperature was warm enough for the thawing to continue on the frozen Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.
(1) A Statistical Inquiry into the Condition of the People of Colour of the City & Districts of Philadelphia, p. 7. Available at –