Fifty-five-year-old Jacob Garver died this date, February 17th in 1854 of “Debility” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The death certificate states that he was a “native” of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, the 1850 U.S. Census reports that he was born in Maryland. In addition to Mr. Garver, the family included forty-five-year-old Maria Garver and seventy-year-old Hannah Jones who were both born in Maryland and nine-year-old Anna M. Garver who was born in Philadelphia.
Hannah Jones, who most likely was the mother of Maria Garver, died in April of 1853 and was buried at Lebanon Cemetery. Her death certificate is below. The family lived in a room at #2 Currant Alley for which they paid approximately $3 a month. The 1850 Census reports Mr. Garver’s occupation as a whitewasher for which he may have made $3 a week when he had the work.
Mr. Garver was employed as a whitewasher or house painter as we know it today. He would have painted fences, stables, house walls, and ceilings. The whitewash/paint that he would have used contained a high content of lead. It was not uncommon for these men and women to suffer brain damage and to experience an early death.
Ninety-six Black families lived in the densely packed Currant Alley. The thoroughfare had a staggering total of three hundred twenty-one Black family members, according to the 1847 Census. The Census also showed that the adults living on Currant Alley were solidly working class, having a wide range of laboring and domestic jobs to which African American men and women were restricted.
Mr. Garver lived with his family in Currant Alley, now Warnock Street, located between Locust & Spruce Streets and between 10th & 11th Streets. The photo above shows Warnock Street in 1926. Below is a photo of what Warnock Street currently looks like.
Mr. Garver died on a cold day in mid-February and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Several days later, a major snowstorm hit the east coast.