Twenty-five-year-old Alexander G. Hopkins died this date, August 9th, in 1842 of “Disease of the Visceral” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The extremely vague and unspecific cause of death is suspicious. Was Mr. Hopkins a victim of white mob violence during the three-day assault on the Black community known as the Lombard Street Riots from August 1st through August 3rd in 1842? Did the young man succumb to his wounds?
According to the 1840 U.S. Census, Mr. Hopkins had a spouse, however, her name was not reported. The 1842 Philadelphia City Directory identified his occupation as a porter. The young couple lived at #5 Lisle Street in the upper portion of the Moyamensing District. The narrow thoroughfare was home to Black men and women who were employed as waiters, porters, seamstresses, carpenters, laundresses, sailmakers, and tailoresses (female tailors). The Black children in the neighborhood attended the St. Mary’s Street School or the Lombard Street School.
The red arrow above illustrates the location of the Hopkins’ residence on Lisle Street. The red circle shows the location and proximity of the Bethel A.M.E. Church at Sixth and Locust Streets.
The week before Mr. Hopkins died, Mr. Charles Black, an African American man, was dragged down the stairs from the second floor in his home on Lombard Street and beaten almost to death in front of his young son. Supposedly, Mr. Black survived his wounds. However, his name is absent from future city directories. (1)
Mr. Hopkins died on a partly clear day where the temperature rose to 79 degrees by late afternoon. He was buried by his family, with dignity, at Bethel Burying Ground.
(1) The Liberator, 9 September 1842.