The four-year-old child of Hezekiah and Henrietta Hooper died this date, April 11th, in 1853 of Tabes Mesenterica and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Tabes Mesenterica is a progressive wasting of the intestines marked by anemia, dramatic swelling of the abdomen, diarrhea, fever, and pain. Tabes Mesenterica is a form of Tuberculosis.
After studying several censuses, multiple city directories, and death certificates, I believe Dr. Ashton’s note contained an error. I believe that the child that died was four-year-old Margaretta Hooper. Below is the family’s entry for the 1850 U.S. Census. The census taker also was in error by entering the family’s last name as “Cooper” instead of “Hooper.” This error appears in other documents. It happened enough to make me wonder if Mr. Hooper did it on purpose for some unknown reason.
The seven members of the Hooper family lived in one room at #7 Hurst Street for which they would have paid $3 – $4 a month. Mr. Hooper, a porter, may have earned between $3 – $5 a week, depending on the volume of work. It appears that Ms. Hooper had her hands full with five children at home. It is also a possibility that she lost a child or two, given the years between Ann and Sarah. There are no surviving records that indicate that they were buried at Bethel Burying Ground.
In the above map, the red arrow illustrates the location of the Hoopers’ home on Hurst Street. The red circle indicates the Bethel AME Church and its close proximity to the Hoopers’ residence. In the early 1850s, the Hoopers would have found the church was not only the center of worship for the religion founded by Richard Allen, but it was also a community center. In addition to being the home of a school for children and adults, it provided space for lectures on abolition, the Fugitive Slave Law, and classes for women by women on the importance of female anatomy, physiology, and health. It was also home to temperance societies, beneficial societies, and fundraisers for political prisoners.
Henrietta and Hezekiah Hooper lost their four-year-old daughter Margaretta on an early Spring day in April of 1853. They buried her at Bethel Burying Ground.