Seventy-five-year-old Roland Lewis* died this date, October 27th, in 1844 from the effects of diarrhea which was a symptom of an undiagnosed illness. In the 1836 Philadelphia African American Census, Mr. Lewis reported that he was employed as a laborer and his spouse as a cook. Ms. Lewis’ name was not recorded, however, I believe it to be Tabatha Lewis. She passed away on February 4, 1843, at seventy-two-years-old of “Inflammation of the Stomach and Bowels” and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground, according to Philadelphia Board of Health death certificates.
Above is a snapshot of the Lewis family’s entry in the 1836 Philadelphia African American Census. The entry continues to report that Mr. and Ms. Lewis were born into enslavement and were freed through manumission. The elderly couple lived at 75 George Street on the same block as the Philadelphia Looking Glass and Picture Frame Company, the Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company and a jar and can sealing factory. George Street no longer exists. It is now covered by a Thomas Jefferson University Hospital building.
Roland Lewis was buried next to his spouse on a cloudy day where the temperatures ranged from 40 degrees to 66 degrees. Storm clouds built during the evening that resulted in a violent storm the next day with thunder and flashes of “vivid lightning.”
*”Roland” is occasionally spelled “Rowland” in some documents.