Eight-month-old David Cole, Jr. died this date, March 25th, in 1846 of Pneumonia and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground on the 28th according to the Philadelphia Board of Health Records. He lived with his mother (unnamed) and father David, Sr. in the rear of a building on Emeline Street. He had a sister who was under five years old, according to the 1847 African American Census. There was also a woman over fifty years old in the family. The three adults were not native to Pennsylvania and likely were all born in Virginia. A note by the census taker states “Manumitted by Sarah Crippen of Virginia.” It doesn’t state who in the family was manumitted.
The 1847 Census has the Cole family living in the rear of a building on Emeline Street. There was only one thing worse than residing in one of the dilapidated wooden shells on the narrow thoroughfare; the worst place was living in a hovel in the rear of one of these horrible places. They tended to be originally built as a cow pen or pigpen. It had a roof and sides consisting of pieces of rugs and/or wood with a hole in the roof for smoke to try and rise from the dirt floor. The men, women, and children in these hell holes would freeze in the winter and bake in the summer. Deadly forms of Tuberculosis, Pneumonia, and Influenza were common. For the privilege of living like this, the family paid $6 a month or approximately $208.00 in modern currency. The $6 amount is double what it should have been compared with similar properties.
Eight-month-old David Cole, Jr. died on a day in late March when a “storm of heavy rain, accompanied with thunder and lighting” hit the city coming from the southwest. (1) He was one of four hundred and seventy-nine Philadelphia children to die of lung diseases in 1846, according to Philadelphia Board of Health records. The Cole family buried their son, with dignity, at Bethel Burying Ground.
(1) This is likely the reason for the delay in the burial.