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Records of African Americans in the Berks County Poor House



The following records were extracted from microfilm at the State Archives of Pennsylvania.  These records document the deaths and pregnancies of African Americans living at the Berks County Alms House in Cumru Township, located near present-day Shillington. They are recorded in chronological order.


Name/ Description Date/Cause of Death Place of Burial Notes
James Dunlap (Negro) November 23, 1825 Poor House  
John Gibs (Negro) December 11, 1825 Poor House  
Willeby Jones (Negro) April 2, 1826 Poor House  
Daniel Clymer (Negro) November 22, 1826 Poor House  
Eliza Henderson (Negris) November 20, 1827 Poor House  
Elijah Anderson (Negro) January 4, 1829 Poor House  
Henry Talbert (Negro) May 16, 1829 Poor House  
Basil Smith (Negro) October 10, 1829 Poor House  
Jacob Barrington (Negro) November 19, 1829 Poor House  
King Herod (Negro) November 27, 1829 Poor House  
Margarett Dillen (Negres) June 10, 1830 Poor House  
Samuel Hageman (Negro) June 17, 1830 Poor House  
Johnathan Jones (Negro) August 23, 1830 Poor House  
George Murry (Negro) October 27, 1830 Poor House  
Richard Adams (Negro) December 1, 1830 Poor House  
William Hartley (Negro) February 21, 1831 Poor House  
Sarah York (Negro) February 26, 1831 Poor House  
William Ross (Negro) May 26, 1832 Poor House  
John Corsey (Negro) August 16, 1836 Poor House  
Jesse Litney (Negro) February 15, 1840/Old Age Poor House  
Strainger [sic] (Negro) March 23, 1842/ Cause Unknown Poor House  
Joseph Johnson (Negro) August 20, 1842/Old Age Poor House  
Pompey Feager (Negro) February 2, 1847/Old Age Poor House  
James Smith (Negro) February 15, 1847/ Consumption Poor House  
George Anderson (Negro) April 20, 1847/ Cause Unknown Poor House "Brought Dead"
James Darrah (Negro) March 31, 1848/ Chronic Diarrhea Poor House  
John Gibbs (Negro) May 15, 1848/ Consumption Poor House  
Simon Bell (Negro) July 4, 1849/ Chronic Enteritis Poor House  
Stephen Gilbert (Negro) July 9, 1849/ Consumption Reading  
Francis Grim (Negro) February 4, 1850/ Hydrothorax   Age "18 years"
Jane Williams (Negris) April 20, 1850/ Gangrene Poor House Age 40 years
Isaac M. Curdy (Negro) July 11, 1850/ Dropsy Poor House Age 58 years
A female child (Negris) October 25, 1851/ Unknown Poor House Age "not known"
Silva Moore (Negris) January 14, 1852/ Old Age Poor House Age 110 years, 8 months.  Where from:  Earl Township, Bucks County
James Walker (Negro) November 28, 1852/ Consumption Poor House Age 30 years
William Herkelus (Negro) March 6, 1853/ "Maniacal Po???"   Age 60 years
J. James (Negro Boy) November 21, 1853/ "Drowned in Schuylkill" Poor House  
Rebecca Johnson (Negris) March 5, 1854/ Unknown   "Brought Dead"
Peter Kelly (Negro) August 13, 1854/ Old Age   Age 71 years.  Pauper Book #5474
Peter Gilbert (Negro) November 12, 1854/ Mania a Poter"   Age 57 years.  Pauper Book #5832
Stephen Brown (Colored) September 3, 1855/ Phthisis pulmonalis" Poor House Age 72 years.  From Reading.  Pauper Book #5930
Joseph Glasgow (Colored) September 10, 1855 Poor House Age 50 years.  From Reading.  Pauper Book #6082
Isaac Williams (Colored) June 6, 1856/ Dropsy   Age 39 years.  From Birdsboro.  Pauper Book #9101

Pregnancies and Births

Mother's Name/Description Date of delivery Sex of child Notes
Catharine Beckerman (Negris) February 18, 1836 "not known" Where from:  Unknown
Eliza Jennings (Negris) April 20, 1839 Female  
Mary Ann Hamilton (Negris) May 4, 1839 Female  
Elizabeth Collins (Negris) October 21, 1850 Male  
Martha Jackson (Negris) November 20, 1850 Female "Still born.  Born out of wedlock."
Mary Thorn (Negris) January 5, 1851 Male  
Mary Holland (Negris) May 16, 1851 Male  
Julia Baker (Negris) December 28, 1857 Female Where from:  Reading

Source:  RG-47, Berks County, Pennsylvania, Records of County Governments, Board of County Commissioners -- Directors of the Poor.  Death Register, 1825-1892.  Microfilm roll 9367.  State Archives of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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