Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: John Robinson

Going back to the 1920 Census our next Black American home owner is John Robinson, a 34 year old cook who lived at 1417 New Jersey Avenue NW.  He lived there with his wife Annie B., their 7 year old daughter Dorothy M., his brother Sam, and his widowed aunt-in-law Belle Pryor.

John W Robinson
Credit: JKROBIN3571 originally shared this on 30 Nov 2010 via Ancestry.com

Because of the amazingness of Ancestry.com, we have a photo of Mr. Robinson. This is a nice reminder that these people who I write about were real people who lived in Truxton Circle and who are our neighbors from the past.

On March 14, 1885 John Robinson was (probably) born in King William County, Virginia to John B. Robinson and Oney Smith. He was still in Virginia, as a school boy in 1900. By the 1910 census he appears in Washington, DC living as a lodger with J Walker Robinson at 1222 4th St NW and working as a cook in a cafe.

In 1911 he married Annie B. Brooks. An announcement appeared in the Washington Bee (Dec 9, 1911, p.5):

Robinson-Brooks 1911 Wedning pt 2So it appears Mr. Robinson was married at the house he would eventually own but settled at another Truxton Circle home at 1629 3rd St NW.Annie Brooks

Kudos to JKROBIN3571 or the gentleman who uploaded all the Robinson family information to Ancestry, it is a treasure trove. Annie Bernice Brooks or Mrs. John Robinson, died in 1973 at the age of 87 and JKROBIN3571 uploaded her funeral program. From the program we learned that she was baptized at Third Baptist Church over on 5th Street and it was there where John was a deacon and Annie B. Robinson, served as a deaconess.  She taught Sunday School and was involved in various committees and groups at her church. She belonged to the Columbia Temple #422 and the Past Daughter Ruler Council, both Elks affiliates.

Shurlock-Columbia-Temple-Black-Nurses
Class of 1930, Health Unit of Columbia Temple #422
Annie Brooks
Annie B. Robinson in her later years.

The Robinsons were married for 27 years and had three children. In the 1930 census John Robinson is a porter for a hospital supply business. For all the census where they are man and wife, it appears Mrs. Robinson was a stay at home mom, but her obituary did mentioned she did work at some point in her life. In 1930 they lived with their three minor children, Mrs. Robinson’s father, John H. Brooks, a nephew Linwood Brooks, and aunts Sophia B. Brooks and Isabelle (Belle) A. Pryor.

I’ll just point out that according to the wedding announcement, 1417 New Jersey Ave NW used to be Isabelle A. Pryor’s home.  In 1900 and 1910 she lived there with her husband Joseph R. Pryor and an unmarried Annie, her niece, who was listed as a lodger in 1910.

This family’s records are very rich but let us turn to the land records. The earliest land record is from 1928 where John ans Annie appear to borrow $20,000 from lenders Melvin F. Bergman and George M. Emmerich. That same year they are released from two other debts (1915 and 1927) held by trustees. In 1931 they are released from the 1928 debt to Bergman and Emmerich. In 1952 Annie borrowed $3,600 through the Perpetual Building Association and the documents reflected the passing of John W. Robinson. In 1959 Annie B. sold the house to George and Sophia Basiliko who appeared to be acting as go betweens to sell the house to John M. and Eftehia Swagart. It does not appear that she purchased another property. Her last known address, according to her death certificate, was 4647 H St SE.

 

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