woodsawyer (1)

Eighty-year-old Isaac Davis died this date, June 30th, of Typhoid Fever and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. He was single and occupied as a woodsawyer. Mr. Davis was born in Philadelphia in 1784. Despite this, he is not recorded in any Federal Census or in the 1838 and 1847 African American censuses. City directories do list his occupation as “laborer” who was living at 518 S. 7th Street.

After the City of Philadelphia and the County of Philadelphia consolidated in 1854, the Board of Health made it difficult for cemeteries to exist, except on the outer boundaries of the city. By the time Mr. Davis was buried, Bethel Burying Ground had been closed and virtually abandoned. Even closed cemeteries were sometimes allowed to bury an individual if he or she had family members interred there. It is impossible to ascertain if that is the case in this situation since there are a minimum of thirty individuals buried at BBG with the last name “Davis.” And it is probably closer to one hundred considering how many records were lost. In 1864, there is only one other individual recorded being buried on Queen Street. Mr. Davis was the last whose records have survived.

Sketch Jackie 2
Mr. Davis was buried on July 2, 1864, two days after his death from Typhoid Fever. One year after the Battle of Gettysburg.