Fifteen-year-old Bingham Baker died this date, June 17th, in 1824 of Tuberculosis and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Also buried there was Mr. Adam Baker who died the year before. He lived at the same address as Bingham and was likely the grandfather. The older man would have been approximately fifty-four-years-old at the time of Bingham’s birth.
In 1816, seven years before Adam’s death, an Adam Baker lost a year old daughter. All three are buried at Bethel Burying Ground. It appears that there was probably an Adam, Sr. and an Adam, Jr.
Below is the summary of the 1820 Federal Census for the Adam Baker family.
The red arrow above indicates the residence of the Baker family at 28 Barron Street. The red circle illustrates the location of the city’s largest open-air market. Young Bingham would have been very familiar with the two city block long shed that was bustling with Black and white city residents looking to buy meats, vegetables, fruits, sweets, and dry good. There would have been an almost constant din from the large horse-drawn freight wagons coming from the surrounding counties who were bringing their farm goods to market and the loud calls of the vendors announcing their wares. Stepping outside his front door, Bingham might have been able to see the tall masts of the sailing ships at the Delaware River wharves.
The Black teenager also saw the rapid increase in racist violence during the last several years of his life. “The streets of Philadelphia became dangerous by night and unsafe by day.” With the increase in assaults also came a wildly disproportionate increase in Blacks being imprisoned. In addition, fugitive slave kidnappers roamed the city streets seizing Black men and women who even slightly resembled the description of the newly liberated person. (1)
A prominent white Philadelphia journalist and editor wrote in 1824, “We hope that blacks will disappear from the streets of Philadelphia. They are a pernicious and irreclaimable race, whose insolence and ignorance seem to be increased by the means which have been taken to befriend them.” (2)
It appears that the racist was possibly reacting to an action in 1824 by 150 armed Black men and women who attacked the Arch Street Jail after a Black man was arrested for being a runaway from enslavement. (3)
“Negro Boys Playing Marbles,” New York Public Library Digital Collection
Fifteen-year-old Bingham Baker died of Tuberculosis on a warm day in June and was buried by his family at Bethel Burying Ground.
(1) The Negro in Pennsylvania by Edward R. Turner, p. 155.
(2) Philadelphia in 1824/The Portfolio by Joseph Dennie (aka Oliver Oldschool), p. 458. Available at Haiti Trust.
(3) American Daily Advertiser, September 7 & 8, 1824.