Seventy-two-year-old Benjamin Morris died this date, September 7th, in 1841 of Tuberculosis (Consumption) and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. The document above shows Mr. Morris’s age as nintey-two which is incorrect. The below document filled out by the manager of the cemetery shows his correct age as seventy-two. This is also backed up by census records.
Mr. Morris was employed as a blacksmith and may have worked at McGavett’s Foundry which was next to his home at the corner of Broad Street and Paper Alley in center city Philadelphia. Mr. Morris owned his home, according to the 1838 Philadelphia African American Census. It was a small house with only three rooms and valued at $1,100 in 1838. That would be approximately $34,500 in modern currency. Mr. Morris had $125 in personal property or approximately $4,000 in modern currency.
Mr. Morris was born to an enslaved mother in approximately 1769. It is not known what colony they lived in at the time. It could have been Pennsylvania. It is recorded in the 1838 Census that he gained his freedom by manumission when $250 was paid to his enslaver. Given the small amount, he may have been a child when this occurred.
Mr. Morris died on a early September day that saw a violent hail storm sweep the city damaging homes, trees, and gardens. He was buried, with dignity, at Bethel Burying Ground.