John Davis, 33 years of age, died on March 3rd and was buried on March 8th at Bethel Burying Ground. He worked as a laborer and lived with his family in the 1300 block of Pearl Street in the North Ward. Mr. Davis left his spouse Catherine (29) and his four children William (7), Charles (5), Mary (3) and Margaret (1) according to the 1850 Federal census. The announcement of his death in the newspaper stated that his illness was short, two weeks, “Which he bore with Christian fortitude.” (Public Ledger 7 March 1850)
Mr. Davis’ funeral on March 8, 1850 was accompanied by a large funeral procession attended by fellow Masons in full uniform and accompanied by Hazard’s Brass Band; the coffin was carried by members of the order and was covered with a “handsome black cloth and bound with silver.” Many others also made up the procession. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 March 1850)
Historian Roger Lane observed, “The importance of Freemasonry in the early black community, and some of its tone, may be shown by the fact that both the Reverends Richard Allen and Absalom Jones were leaders, with Jones winning a position as Grand Master of Pennsylvania.” See William Dorsey’s Philadelphia & Ours by Roger Lanes, p. 279-285.