Title: Tailor
Birthdate: 1854
Death Date: September 8, 1878
Plot Location: Section 46


Louis Leblanc was born around 1854 in Santiago de Cuba, at the opposite end of Cuba from Havana. The second-largest city in the country is an important sea port on a bay that empties into the Caribbean Sea.

When Louis left Cuba is unknown, as is how he decided to make Philadelphia his home. The only  document found, other than the newspaper clipping below, is this city directory listing from 1877,

showing he ran a tailor business with a partner, Joseph Valdes, in 1877. Louis was a poor man, living in the back of the shop. Behind a partition was a meager living space where he slept in a hammock and had a small area for cooking and eating his meals.

It was in that small room in the early morning hours of September 8, 1878 that his gruesome murder occurred. A man in a nearby tenement house heard sounds of distress around 3 a.m.

Upon entering the building he found Louis lying on the floor in a pool of blood. The police arrived to discover the body had been beaten with multiple gashes to the face and the throat slashed.

It was obvious that the victim desperately fought for his life but was overtaken. A bloody hand print on the wall led police to a dark cellar where they found a razor in the cesspool and a bloodied undershirt soaking in a metal tub of water.

Not long before his murder, Louis had taken in a fellow Cuban named Jose Antonio Suarez. He had no money and was in need of shelter. Police suspected Jose had committed the grisly crime. A barber from the shop next door saw Jose leaving the tailor shop around 7 a.m. wearing the murdered man’s clothing and carrying a bundle under his arm. It was believed it contained some cash Louis saved to pay his rent, plus a few items of value from the workshop. The murderer even stole the victim’s shoes.

Later that day the Chief of Police issued a dispatch to all police stations in the city for the arrest of Suarez but he was never located. A Coroner’s Inquest was held and the jury determined that Louis “came to his death at the hands of Jose Antonio Suarez.” The suspect may have fled to New York and then traveled by schooner back to Cuba.

The story appeared in the newspapers, but six years later it was still a cold case. Louis was 24, had no known relatives in Philadelphia, and was buried here through the generosity of the Emmanuel Lodge of the Masons. An exact location and grave marker have not been located.


Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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