This rather well dressed lady is Philadelphia, who I became acquainted with several years ago after purchasing a rather solemn looking book entitled ‘A Brief Memoir of James Jones’. She has signed her name across the flyleaf as you can see above. I have been lucky enough to discover a photo of Philadelphia so thank you to Terry for allowing me to include it here.
Mr Jones was for 45 years the Pastor of a Strict Baptist Church on the outskirts of a quiet Sussex village. His book is full of hymns and poems he composed as well as some delightful letters he wrote in answer to people asking for prayers to be said for them while they were ill or perhaps dying.
In one of the letters he tells a lady that ‘her landlord will soon be requiring her earthly house because it is getting old and is considerably out of repair, although He will take care of the old materials as they will be needed to rebuild the house again. When the time comes the removal will be a happy one for it will be conducted by Angels.’ Hopefully this letter gave some comfort to the poor woman.
Jones died in 1888 and his book was published the following year. I wonder if Philadelphia had a copy to remind her of the sermons the Pastor gave, perhaps she had attended the chapel regularly. By leaving her name inside the book I feel she was certainly proud to own it.
Philadelphia, a Farmers daughter, was born in Sussex, England in 1830, the eldest of at least 5 children. Her mother had died before Philadelphia was 11, leaving their father to bring them up alone.
Philly is listed as a housekeeper to her father in the 1851 census, a role she had probably carried out in one form or another since the death of her mother. It was quite typical of the times for an elder daughter to take over the running of the household and care of younger siblings in this situation. She appears to have a small daughter with her as well, but I have not dug very deeply into this.
In 1855 she married her first husband who sadly died the following year – a few months before the birth of their first child. She married again, a few years later and had 2 more daughters with her new husband, as well as becoming a stepmother to his 3 children.
She became a widow again in 1886 and spent the remainder of her life living with different family members. She died in 1904 aged 74.