Seventy-two-year-old Ann Richards died this date, February 5th, in 1848 of Inflammation of the Lungs and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. According to census records and city directories, Ms. Richards was a single woman. The death certificate identifies her as ‘Mrs.,’ which likely means she was a widow. The 1847 Philadelphia African American Census reports that she resided alone at #8 Gray’s Alley in a 9’x9′ room for which she paid $2.33 a month. She was self-employed as a laundress for which she may have made from $0.75-$1.00 a week when she was able to get the work. Ms. Richards reported that she was not born in Pennsylvania and that she could read. She belonged to a beneficial society and attended Bethel A.M.E. at 6th and Lombard Streets.
The red circle in the above map illustrates the location of Mrs. Richards’ home at #8 Gray’s Alley. The red arrow in the map below shows the location of the address in relation to the Delaware River (blue line). In the mid-1850s, Gray’s Alley was renamed Gatzmer Alley.
There were two large tenements in Gray’s Alley that contained all the African Africans on the block, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. The two buildings contained sixty-eight Black men, women, and children. The men in Gray’s Alley worked as laborers and porters, likely on the nearby wharves loading and unloading ships. The women were self-employed as wash women and domestics. There was one woman who listed her occupation as a “cake and pie maker.” She may have sold her baked goods at the nearby outdoor market, just around the corner.
Ms. Richards died on a day in early February where it snowed 2 1/2 inches “but most of it melted on reaching the ground.” She was buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
Note: The death certificate for Ms. Richards was signed by “George Webber, M.D.” However, the city directories listed him as a botanical and herb physician. He resided very close to Ms. Richard’s home.