Fifty-three-year-old Frances Paul died on May 27th, 1853 of Typhoid Fever, and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Ms. Paul was born in New Jersey according to the 1850 United States Census and was the mother of two children according to the 1838 Philadelphia African American Census. According to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census, she was employed as a cook.
Thomas Paul was seventy-three years old when his spouse died. He was employed as a “laborer” according to the 1847 Census. The 1838 Philadelphia African American Census reports his occupation then as “cabinetmaker.” Mr. Paul was born enslaved in Maryland. He would outlive his spouse by fifteen years dying in 1868 at eighty-five years old of heart disease. He was buried at Lebanon Cemetery.
It appears from the 1847 Census and the 1850 U.S. Census that the Paul family in 1850 was Thomas, Lydia, and maybe a daughter named Lydia. The rest we likely boarders. The Pauls rented the first floor (and maybe the basement) of 245 South 7th Street for the hefty sum of $15 a month. That is the equivalent of approximately $530 in modern currency.
Sixth and Lombard Streets was ground zero for racial attacks by white Irish gangs. Black churches and businesses were prominent in the area and were regularly targeted. It was not uncommon to see groups of Black men and boys defending their neighborhood, especially on Sunday evenings. After late services at Bethel, the congregants would gather outside the church to share news and each other’s company. White gangs, fueled by alcohol courage, would prey on the parishioners. However, they were often met by Black defenders and driven away.
Ms. Francis Paul died on a clear day in late May when the temperature rose to seventy-two degrees. She was buried, with dignity, at bethel Burying Ground.