Seventy-one-year-old John Wells died this date, February 4th, in 1848 of an inflammation of his lungs. The cause is not stated by the physician and could be one or a combination of viral and/or bacterial diseases.
In the 1838 Philadelphia Census, Mr. Wells reported he was employed as a porter. In the year before his death, Mr. Wells reported he worked as a woodsawyer earning $5 a week, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. He shared this occupation with whom appears to be his son, John D. Wells, who lived at the same address. The name of the spouse of the senior Mr. Wells was not recorded. The family moved a good deal between 1838 and 1847, finally residing at 114 South 9th Street where the senior Mr. Wells passed away.
John D. Wells lived with his spouse and a daughter. There are no records that I was able to locate that reported the first names of either adult female. The women were self-employed as laundresses, according to the 1838 Census. It also reported that two of the adults were “free-born.” However, it did not state which two.
Mr. Wells was born in 1776. As a child, he walked the streets of Philadelphia with George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. He saw the exuberant colonists celebrate their newfound freedom from Great Britain and their written commitment to democracy and freedom for all. The young Mr. Wells would go on to realize that his rights had been stolen and sold away. His legacy is our legacy. Please say his name.
Mr. John Wells died on a clear cold day in February 1848 and was buried, with dignity, by his family and friends at Bethel Burying Ground.