The five-month-old daughter of Liddney and Robert Kennedy died this date, May 15th in 1842 of Marasmus and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The baby starved to death because of a lack of food or a disease that damaged her digestive system. Baby Kennedy was one of the one hundred forty-nine children in 1842 to die of Marasmus, according to Philadelphia Board of Health records.
Liddney Kennedy was twenty-two-years old when her daughter was born. Ms. Kennedy was born in Delaware and was self-employed as a dressmaker. Mr. Kennedy also was twenty-two-years old, born in Maryland, and employed as a musician, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. It appears that the baby was their only child. However, the 1850 U.S. Census reports that by then the couple had three children. They were John R. who was six-years-old, Elizabeth who was five-years-old, and Robert who was fifteen months.
The Kennedy family lived at #7 Guilelumina Place. It was a short narrow thoroughfare that was home to ninety-five Black men, women, and children, according to the 1847 Census. They were employed as porters, cooks, dressmakers, laundresses, seamen, and white washers. They even had their own herb doctor, Henry Gleeve. Their children went to the school in Raspberry Alley.
The Kennedy family paid $8 a month for their one room on the alley. In modern currency that would be approximately $242. According to the 1847 Census, they owned $500 in “personal property” or approximately $15,000 in modern currency. This was a considerable amount and may have included Mr. Kennedy’s muscial instruments.
Mr. Kennedy may have been a musician in the Frank Johnson Orchestra. Francis “Frank” Johnson was an African American musician, maestro, and composer. He directed military bands and society dance orchestras, taught music, and performed on the violin and keyed bugle. His early career consisted of performing for balls, parades, and dancing schools. The Orchestra performed arrangements of “fashionable” music for most of the major dance functions in Philadelphia. Upon Mr. Johnson’s death in 1844, the Orchestra became known by the name of its new director Joseph Anderson, Jr. for further information on Mr. Johnson please go to —-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Johnson_(composer).
The five-month-old daughter of Liddney and Robert Kennedy died on a unseasonably cold, rainy day in May and was buried with dignity by her parents at Bethel Burying Ground.