Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Fannie E. L. Moore

I decided to make my life a little easier and just look at the 1920 census for African American home owners. That’s because the Recorder of Deeds starts around 1920/1921 and looking at 1900-1910 property and landowners is harder.

Image not foundFannie Moore is listed as living at 53 O St NW in the 1920 census. Sadly, for me, 53 O St NW does not exist anymore. Google map puts it at an alley. Looking at a Library of Congress Baist map from 1919, 53 O St NW is on Sq. 616 lot 58. However, I have to take that with a grain of salt, because sometimes these address matches are a little off. The Recorder of Deeds record #1938036439, the only record for lot 58, confirms Fannie L. Moore as the owner. In 1938, it appears she sold the land to the DC government for $3,750.

It may seem odd, but Fannie or Fanny Moore was a common enough name that several show up, living in Washington DC in the early 20th century. And it didn’t help that her birth year was inconsistent. In the 1920 and 1930 census her birth year is estimated to be 1882. But in the 1900 census, when she was a 23 year old laundress, living with her mother and siblings at 51 O St NW, her birth year was 1877. With the city directory her address jumps around. In 1928 she is at 54 O St NW and in 1906 at 51 O St NW. So I do believe I have the same woman. But around the same time period is a Mrs. Fannie L. Moore married to a Thomas A. Moore and another one married to a C.E. Moore. Our Fannie Moore was a single lady.

The O St Fannie Moore may have started her career as a laundress, a common occupation for Black women at the time, but later found work with the US government. In city directories, at least by 1906, she had found a job with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. At one point she was a shaker then moved up to become an operator, whatever those positions are.

Once she sells her property in 1938, she all but disappears. If I wanted to spend the money, as a federal employee I could research her personnel file. That would probably tell me when she departed this earth and if she ever retired or married (thus making it harder to find her). When she sold the property, she would have been around 61 years old.

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