Death Date: September 8, 1878
Plot Location: Section 46
Louis LeBlanc was born about 1854 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, a sea port on a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea and long considered the second most important city in Cuba.
Exactly why and when Louis LeBlanc left Cuba is unknown, but the Philadelphia city directory shows he was running a tailor business with Joseph Valdes in 1877. Louis was a poor man, operating the small business at 1348 Lombard Street. The rear of the business was petitioned off as his living space where he slept in a hammock and had a small area for cooking and eating his meals.
It was in that small living space in the early morning hours of September 8, 1878 that a gruesome murder occurred. A neighbor in a nearby tenement house, after hearing noises of distress around 3 am, eventually investigated and found Louis lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Believing him to be dead, the neighbor notified authorities who entered the residence and found the body brutally beaten with multiple gashes to the face and head 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, upon searching, 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 countryman named Jose Antonio Suarez, who had no money and was in need of shelter. Police suspected Suarez had committed the grisly crime. A barber from the shop next door saw Suarez leaving the tailor shop around 7 am, wearing the murdered man’s clothing and carrying a bundle under his arm. It was believed the parcel contained the few items of value from the tailor’s workshop as well as a small amount of cash Louis was saving to pay his rent. The murderer even stole the victim’s shoes. Later in the evening, Chief of Police Jones issued a dispatch to all police stations in the City for the arrest of Suarez but he was never located.
On September 26 a Coroner’s Inquest was held and the jury rendered that Louis “came to his death at the hands of Jose Antonio Suarez.” It is believed the suspect fled to New York and then traveled by schooner back to Cuba. An article in an 1884 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer listed Louis’ murder as unsolved.
Louis was 24, had no known relatives in Philadelphia, and was buried here on September 11 with Masonic honors by members of the Emanuel Lodge.
Support the Friends of Mount Moriah
Help us in our mission to restore and maintain the beautiful Mount Moriah Cemetery by donating to our cause or volunteering at one of our clean-up events.