The unnamed seven-month-old son of Mary and Richard Hubert died this date, August 4th, in 1851 of Cholera and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Ms. Hubert was thirty-four-years-old at the time of her son’s death while Mr. Hubert was thirty-six-years-old. Both were born in Delaware, according to the 1850 United States Census. The family also included nine-year-old Maria and two-year-old Stephan. Both were born in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hubert worked as a laborer earning $4-$5 a week. Ms. Hubert was a house cleaner, according to the 1847 Philadelphia African American Census. However, the census taker noted that Ms. Huber was “weakly” and “not able to work regularly.” The family lived at #15 Lisle Street in the Moyamensing District. The narrow thoroughfare was home to more than two dozen Black families. The men and women were employed as waiters, porters, seamstresses, carpenters, laundresses, sailmakers, and tailoresses (female tailors). The Black children in the neighborhood attended the St. Mary’s Street School or the Lombard Street School. The Huberts paid $8-$10 a month in rent.
The early 1850s in Philadelphia was a fearful time for white people. Every week it seems there was an insurrection by enslaved Black men and women in the slave states such as Alabama and Virginia. There also was a bloody insurrection in Cuba. Hundreds of Blacks were attacking plantations and murdering their enslavers. The southerners blamed the abolitionists for filling the minds of the Blacks with ideas such as equality and liberty. The most famous African American abolitionist was Frederick Douglass. He had visited Philadelphia many times and made numerous friends. But in July of 1852, a month before the Hubert baby died, he decided it was too dangerous to come to Philadelphia. Douglass wrote a friend that he was about to travel from his home in Rochester, New York to Cincinnati, Ohio. He had made this trip before and normally he would stop in Philadelphia. He wrote his friend that he felt sure that this time he would be attacked on the street by white mobs. Douglass also shared with his friend that the potential violence in the city was at a fever pitch, fueled by the “American Demon” – racism. (1)
The baby son of Mary and John Hubert died on a day in early August where the temperature only rose to 74 degrees with light showers falling in the afternoon. He was buried, with dignity, at Bethel Burying Ground.
(1) Philip S. Foner, “The Battle To End Discrimination Against Negroes On Philadelphia Streetcars,” Pennsylvania History, vol. 40, no. 3, July 1973, p.266.