I don't know if this is the same family, but I thought this was an interesting article in the Jan/Feb, 2009 issue of American Spirit magazine, put out by the D.A.R:
"Elfreth's Alley was an artisan community of Philadelphia's middle class."
"Barney and Phoebe Schumo..lived in a fairly modest house along the alley with their five children, and documents show that in 1810, they were renting the rear of the house to three free African-Americans."
"Phoebe would have been responsible for keeping the house, tending to the needs of her children and boarders, and probably helping Barney with his woodworking business...and somewhere along the line, they had aspirations of something more."
"Wanting a larger house, Barney tore down the workshop he owned on the opposite side of the alley and built what one architectural historian has referred to as the most ambitious construction project on the street.The three-and-a-half story house he constructed featured ornate woodwork.Shortly after completing the house, Barney grew sick and suspected he would never recover.In his will, he instructed his wife to sell the new house and move back across the street to the modest house where they had started.The newer house - with all its ornate touches - still stands, but there's no record of how Phoebe Schumo's life played out."
"Occasionally widows would inherit property or money,..but more often you found situations like Phoebe Schumo - five dependent children and no means of supporting them."
I am not researching this family, and have no further information.