Let’s call this an SOP, standard operating procedure, for what I’m doing. And what am I doing? I’m doing some neighborhood history, but more along the lines of neighborhood historical fact gathering. History is about a story to be told. The problem is that I get another piece of information and it kinda throws a monkey wrench into the narrative. Here I gather the info, then try to tell a tale.
So in our last entry regarding the Brungers there was the issue of Sq. 551 Lot 17, which was also lots 844 and 845. Sometimes, I imagine that I will make a corresponding spreadsheet of addresses by also linking them to their SSL (square and lot) numbers, but then I have to deal with this problem of lot numbers changing. It happens now too with condos. The owner I’m looking at today is Michael Joseph McInerney Sr., owner of lot 845, which appears to be 208 R St NW. And for those of you just joining in this series, this house no longer exists.
I’ve jumped around and I think I have all the multi-lot owners and the surnames that appear several times. Now we come to William C. and Annie C. Brunger, owners of lot 844 on Square 551, 210 R Street NW.
Since the Ancestry search (available via the awesome DC Public Library) gave me the right info straight out of the gate, I’ll start there first. Ancestry has these family tree things and the Brungers show up in the Reynolds-Smith family tree. The English born carpenter (later foreman), William Charles Brunger (1865- 1928) was married to Annie Caroline Wright (1865-1926), and they had 3 children (Berton William Brunger was born 1889 in DC – died in 1970 in FL; Lillian R Brunger – Leonberger 1893–1967 – also in FL; and Charles A Brunger 1894–1921). In his will he left his daughter Lillian (aka Mrs. F.J. Leonberger) 11 Kennedy Street NE. Berton was bequeathed 210 R St NW, in Truxton Circle. His son Charles was already dead and apparently childless, so nothing for him.
The 1900 Census has the Brunger family living on Sq. 551, but not at 210 R St NW. They are at 1637 3rd St NW in 1910 and 1920. I have discovered they are not on the TruxtonCircle.org Excel sheet for 1900. According to a city directory he lived at 11 Kennedy Street NE in 1926.
The lots C-E appear to be what is now Mt. Sinai’s rear parking lot. On the Baist map shown here, the addresses appear to be 233-237 Q Street NW.
The deed has helpful information. The first person mentioned is William E. Hauser (aka William Hauser) and we are told he’s single. After Ernest F. Hauser (who is married to Lottie E. Hauser) we get another single guy Harry Louis Hauser. Then we learn Ernest Hauser is dead. And Sophia E. Hauser, a life tenant, died March 26, 1935.
I have admitted several times that I have trouble interpreting the property land records that I get from the Recorder of Deed’s database. It dawned on me to look at my own property records to get a sense of what is what.
For reasons, I’m going to change up some names but I will keep the dates. In 2001 I bought my house with a mortgage. In 2003 I took out a HELOC, or 2nd mortgage with Bank B. That was recorded in 2004. In 2006 the Bank B HELOC was paid off and it looks like I took on another HELOC for 100K for the major renovation with Bank A. In 2009, I refinanced, replacing Countrywide with Bank A and absorbing the HELOC I had with them into the new 30 year mortgage. When 2014 rolled around, we (now married to The Help) refinanced to a 7 yr ARM with some cash to pay for the 4th renovation. What I don’t see is the HELOC I took out that year in my name. Which might explain why the title company couldn’t find it either when we sold the house. Continue reading Figuring out the Recorder of Deeds Docs
It’s amazing how many George S. Duncans were in the world. And when I thought this Duncan was a reverend, there are a couple of Rev. George S. Duncans of Scottish decent. Thankfully the land records gave away his middle name and named his wife so that helped narrow things down.
George Stewart Duncan (3/2/1860-1946) and his wife Florence W. Duncan (1872-1949) owned several lots on Square 551. They owned Lot 16, which appears to include Lots 838 to 843, and Lots 30, 31, 32 and 840. They lived at 2900 7th St NE, not in Truxton Circle. His main profession was that of a minister and later he became an instructor at American University in Tenleytown. If I have the right Rev. George S. Duncan he is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery.
I’ve gone through an abnormal name change, so it could be karma should some future historian try to follow me. George S. seems to also be a George L. Duncan, as he has the same birthday. He’s gone through more than one wife as he is married to both a Florence and a Georgie Dennison both of New York state. Georgie was about 6-7 years older than George, and Florence was a younger model by 12 years. And they all lived on 7th Street NE.
Lot 32 went through an address change. According to Document #1936027307 it used to be 1619 3rd Street NW, and became 1633 3rd Street NW. It seems when the Duncans bought the property in 1924 it was 1619. By the time they did something (I am unsure how to interpret these documents) in 1936 with Mrs. John R. Hall (Martha K. Perry Hall) the address had changed to 1633 3rd St NW. With Square 511 having a different layout after the 1970s, this hints to trying to tie lots with addresses, difficult. It appears that they sell it (all the lots) in 1941.
I guess the reason why I am confused by the property documents are how they line up, or don’t, with the census records. So in 1930 the previously mentioned John and Martha Hall lived at 1633 3rd St NW and were listed as owners. But in the 1933-1934 Real Property Assessment (click on the image to see a larger sized item) has Rev. Duncan as the assessed party or owner. The documents between the white Duncans and the African American Halls range from 1924 to 1941. What was going on? I have no idea.
In my previous posts, I looked at the surnames that appeared more than once on the above snippet of an image from the 1933-1934 property assessment for Square 551. The first post was for the Bundys, particularly James Bundy, a notable African American attorney. Next were the Russian immigrant Levitovs. I was pretty excited to find photographs of Max and Rose. But the next family, the Rosenthals were a little bit more of a challenge.
Normally, I assume the owners are local. I know that it isn’t a given, and in the case of the line Wilhelm & Gunther Rosenthal, owners of SSL:551-0843, they were not in DC. Thankfully, the records from the Recorder of Deeds points us to Berks County, Pennsylvania.
There were 3 documents for the Rosenthals, Document #1937000812, #1941037098, and #1942003233. They state that Minna L. Rosenthal was acting on behalf Sarah J. Rosenthal. I wasn’t sure what was Minna’s relationship to Gunther, Wilhelm or Sarah. Other Rosenthals mentioned in the documents were Elise, and Elise L.D. (sometimes D.L. in other docs). No mention of Wilhelm.
Those documents relate to lots 66,67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72 and 75, parts of old Lot 17. These probably were 208 to 214 R St NW. In 1900 a widowed landlady Amanda Rosenthal owned and lived at 214 R St NW. Amanda was born in Pennsylvania, but I wouldn’t have assumed to look for family there. Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Rosenthals of PA
For the Robinsons, you need to have read my post on the Levitovs because according to the Recorder of Deeds records, this is tied up in the Lot 19 mess. Washington Robinson, is listed as the owner of Lot 848, but as we discovered with the Levitovs, Lots 846 to 855 are part of old Lot 19.
The thing with land records is that they don’t provide a lot of demographic information. I have no idea how old the people are. I can guess at ethnicity by names. So trying to tie people in with what I can find on Ancestry can be tricky. But sometimes the land records clue you in to other data points. With Washington Robinson, his wife Susie (nee Turner) is mentioned in some of the documents. And a rarity, the documents mentioned the address of their property, 144 R St NW. Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Robinsons
So last time we looked at the Bundys, the African Americans who owned parts of Sq. 551 in Truxton Circle. So now I turn to the Levitovs, whose name appears on the image I was looking at several times.
Max & Rose Levitov appear twice (551-0846, 551-0855). Max Levitov (551-0854)appears once by himself.
The thing about Square 551, which is bounded by 1st, Q, 3rd, R and Florida Ave is that the houses that were once there, no longer exist. It is now Florida Avenue Park, the Northwest Co-op (not public housing), and the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. The other thing about S. 551 is that it was a commercial block. There was a dairy over on 1st Street and the block had warehouses and whatnot. So keep that in mind as we look at the Levitovs.
Although he was born in Virginia, he spent most of his life in Washington, DC. He did leave for Oberlin College in Ohio, but returned to attend Howard.
Not sure what his belief system was. He was listed as a trustee for the Baha’i Assembly of Washington. But he was a member of the Second Baptist Church in his obit.
In addition to have been on the DC School Board (1901-1907), he was the secretary of the Howard University Law faculty. He was an alumni graduating from Howard Law school in 1886. When I looked for him, I would find his name attached to public notices regarding wills and probate.
Somewhere in a university library is his biography, “James F. Bundy, 1862-1914” by Charles Murdah Thomas. His papers are at the Historical Society of Washington, DC.