Catharina and Britta Cock died within a week of each other of typhoid fever in 1726, around the time of Unexpected Journey.
These women were buried in the churchyard of the Old Swedes Church, said to be the oldest church in America (1).
It is hard to say what their lives were like, but judging from the church which has been restored and still holds worship services today, they were people of great faith. Possibly, they were immigrants from Sweden caught up in the hope of coming to a land, America, where liberal people could live an enlightened life, free from corrupt foreign influences they believed had tainted their Nordic ideals.
“The church was built in 1698-99 in the Swedish colony of New Sweden from local blue granite and Swedish bricks that had been used as ship’s ballast. The church was situated on the site of the Fort Christina’s burial ground, which dates to 1638. It is claimed that it is “the nation’s oldest church building still standing as originally built”. There are reportedly over 15,000 burials in the churchyard. Lutheran Church services were held in the Swedish language well into the 18th century” (2).
You can take a virtual tour of the church at http://www.oldswedes.org