Eight-three-year-old Hannah Harris died this date, April 27th, in 1848 of a stomach ailment (Gastritis) and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The 1847 African American Census shows that Ms. Harris lived alone in a room at 17 Barley Street for which she paid $2 a month.
Barley Street was a narrow two-block long thoroughfare. It was home to 57 Black families with a total of 245 individuals, according to the 1847 Census. These individuals were employed in 25 different occupations. The street was located near 10th and Pine Streets.
Also, according to the 1847 Census, Ms. Harris was no longer employed (“past work”). It was also reported she received aid from a private charity and wood for her stove from another charity. The charities likely were the Union Benevolent Association and the Guardians of the Poor, respectively. (1)
Ms. Harris was born in Philadelphia in 1765. As the above advertisements illustrate, slavery plagued the city at that time. Black men, women, and children were being sold on Market Street and Front Street in taverns and coffee houses. Two years after Ms. Harris was born, the importation of enslaved Blacks into the colony was prohibited. Was Ms. Harris born to enslaved parents or parents who were free of bondage?
Ms. Harris died on a clear day in late April after a long illness and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
(1) “Sixteenth Annual Report of the Benevolent Association,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 28 Oct 1847.