Forty-five-year-old Mary Stewart died this date, August 15th in 1849, due to “Cramps of the Stomach” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. In 1847 she told the census taker that her spouse worked irregularly as a laborer, earning $3.50 a week, when he was able. He was not named. Ms. Stewart was employed as a domestic. In the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census, Ms. Stewart sadly reported that she had to sell “some of her things to procure the means to bury a child.” She added that “at the same time her son sold some of his things to bury his wife.” Either Mr. or Ms. Stewart had formerly been enslaved and gained their liberation through manumission. The family was struggling just to stay alive.
Ms. Stewart and her family lived in a room at #19 Green Street for which they paid $3 a month and reported having only $15 in personal property. In modern currency, their rent equates to approximately $100 monthly and their property equates to approximately $500. Green Street was a block-long thoroughfare, packed with forty-seven Black families with a total of almost one-hundred-fifty men, women and children.
Mary Stewart died on an August day where the temperature rose to 82° and saw a brief shower at 11am. The rest of the day was clear and fair. She was buried by her family, with dignity, at Bethel Burying Ground.