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Old City in Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

 
 
The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), November 19, 2022
1. The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Marker
Inscription.  
Approximately 5,000 Philadelphians — 10% of the city's population — died from yellow fever between August and November 1793. Burial records for Arch Street would list the "American Plague," another name for yellow fever, as the cause of death. More detailed records show whether the deceased was a Quaker or belonged to another faith. These records also show that Arch Street's burial grounds were opened to everyone during the epidemic and that people of diverse races, religions and nationalities were buried here. The yellow fever epidemic of 1793 remains one of the deadliest public health crises in American History.

A First-Hand Account
Elizabeth Drinker (1735-1807) was a famous Quaker who wrote in her diary about Arch Street's burial grounds during the yellow fever epidemic. On September 12th, 1793, Drinker writes that "two or three bodys were thrown into friends [Arch Street] burying ground over the wall." On the 27th, she saw "10 graves open'd," with 13 more opened the next day. Drinker survived the yellow fever epidemic and died in 1807. She is buried on our grounds.

[Caption:]
"Girard's
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Heroism" shows Philadelphia merchant Stephan Girard personally helping a man infected with yellow fever into his carriage to take him to a hospital.

 
Erected by Arch Street Meeting House.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicCemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionDisastersHeroesWomen. In addition, it is included in the Quakerism series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 12, 1793.
 
Location. 39° 57.113′ N, 75° 8.794′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. It is in Old City. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Arch Street and North 4th Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 312 Arch St, Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. What Happened to the Headstones? (a few steps from this marker); Sarah Mapps Douglass / Quakers & Social Justice / Arch Street Meeting House (a few steps from this marker); You're Standing on a Burial Ground (a few steps from this marker); Arch Street Meeting House (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Arch Street Meeting House (within
The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), November 19, 2022
2. The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Marker
shouting distance of this marker); About the Meeting House / A Master Builder / Arch Street Meeting House (within shouting distance of this marker); In Grateful Memory of William Penn, Quaker (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Arch Street Meeting House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 255 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jul. 25, 2024