Property Owners of Truxton Circle: The Kat Millers

The Recorder of Deeds website was being unhelpful. So this is mostly from Ancestry and the Historic Washington Post. Genealogy is hard. I refuse to do my dad’s side of the family because most of it could be summed up in the phrase, “Grandpa James shoulda kept it in his pants.” There are two James, two Roberts and two Johns. Families seem to like to recycle names, which makes things confusing and I was, and probably still am, confused by the Kat Millers of Sq. 520.

I mentioned Kat Miller, as I will call them, in an earlier post, Rando thoughts ending in a music video. For 1905-1906, on Square 520, which is bounded by R St, 3rd and 4th Sts, and Q Street NW, I saw a lot of Kat Millers as the owner of many lots. Katharine Miller owned lots 57-59, 62, 76-78, 88-86, and 90-91. Katharina Miller owned lot 92. Catherine A. Miller owned lots 60, 93-94, and 102-106. There was another lady Miller, Agnes R. Miller who owned lots 61, 65 and 95.

Katharina Nau Miller (1839-1916) Credit Ann Gaegler. Ancestry.com

Like my family, they reused the names. Katharina/ Katrina Elizabeth Nau Miller (1839-1916) was the mother. She was married to a John Miller and they used to live at 452 H St NW. They were members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. They had three daughters, Catherine Appollonia (1871-1944), Agnes Rose (1878-1930), and Anna Barbara (1876-1950).

The Recorder of Deeds site (when working) helped with something that is very hard when looking up women, married names. Apparently Katharina had a will. I haven’t seen it but I’ve seen evidence of it. But according to land records there was a will and Catherine Appollonia Miller became Catherine Ruppert. She and her husband John Anton Ruppert (1861-1939) were the executors of Katharina’s will. In her will she left property to the surviving children of Agnes Rose Sullivan (lots 57, 78, 88, and 90) along with lots on Sq. 509 (maybe 509E?). In the September 16, 1916 Washington Post (p. 3) she left property and money to Catherine Ruppert, Agnes’ kids, and Anna Barbara Gaegler. Mrs. Gaegler owned lots 68 and 74 in 1905.

I’m not sure who John F. Shea is, but he was the surviving trustee of Catherine Ruppert’s estate.

Sq520-1909-BaistMap
1909 Baist Map of Sq. 520

Okay. Let’s see who these ladies were landladies for. I’m ignoring all the lots owned by Sullivans, who could be relatives of Agnes Rose. So let’s look at lots 57-62, 65, 68, 74, 76-78, 86-88, 90-95, 102-106. Not all the old lot numbers line up with the current lot numbers, and the Baist addresses can be wrong, so bear with me. 1603-1611 and 1629 4th, 1635 4th, 1641 4th, 1646 3rd, 1638-1642 3rd (empty lots), 1618-1622 3rd, 1602/4?? 3rd (empty lot 95), 1604-1614 3rd, and 304-312 R St NW.

In 1900 the residents of 1603-1611 and 1629 4th St NW were all African American. Basically everyone on Square 520 in 1900 was Black and renting and on 4th St NW. Unless I have another hole in my data (and I probably do), these white ladies had black tenants in fairly, newish houses. I live on the even side of the 1600 block of 4th St NW and the houses on the odd side are way bigger than the even side. They have room for parking. We don’t, for most of us.

Moving to 1910, I see I probably have a hole in my 1900 data because, I see White people.  In 1910 the Miller ladies rented to African American and White families.  Fourth St remains African American, but the R Street and 3rd Street houses are rented to White families. I have one odd-ball I need to check. A White man named Anthony A. Ryles of 1646 3rd St NW claimed to own the property in the census. 1646 is currently Mt. Sinai’s education center and the original lot 74, Anna Barbara’s lot, no longer exists. People lie, he could have bought it, or there is another logical explanation.

Okay. That’s enough researching for now.

Redlining vs Urban Renewal

I’m seeing the term redlining popping up more and more. Some of my relatives mentioned it during our Christmas Zoom gathering. It seemed new to the Festivus-like list of grievances that get trotted out by particular relatives, and it seemed to be short-hand for something else. I’m going to go with the simple definition of redlining being the denial of government backed mortgages to non-whites based on geography. Yes, redlining was bad, but urban renewal was much worse.

I’m tacking this on the end of the Kat Miller post because, I see that the landladies were interested in green, as they rented to both Black and White. Poking around the property and census records I see loans get made and a lot of people rent. In cities, you’re more apt to rent than own.

Urban renewal impacts both homeowners and renters, more so renters. It it easier to level a quadrant like Southwest when the majority of landowners don’t live there. The Northwest and later the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area plans were to knock out whole blocks, which would have displaced thousands of residents. In the plan, I-395 was supposed to continue up and meet up with U St, destroying what was to become my house in the process. The homes destroyed to make the freeways, the public parks and the low-income housing aren’t coming back. The scars of urban renewal are forever on the landscape.

Sources: Must login to DC Library's various database accounts-
https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/family-tree/person/tree/150627590/person/180246330315/Gallery?_phtarg=Kyj110
https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/family-tree/person/tree/150627590/person/180246330336/facts
https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/family-tree/person/tree/150627590/person/180246330337/facts
https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/family-tree/person/tree/120179064/person/222225869459/facts
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Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Corinthian Baptist Church

Landowner list of Sq 551Last one in this particular series looking at the above segment of the General Assessment 1933-1934. I was not going to look at Ms. Julia W. McGuire, as she is in a trustee position. My dad is a trustee at his church (why. lord. why) and so his name shows up on the tax database for his county for his church’s parking lots. But another quick look at the Recorder of Deeds database showed that she transferred ownership to Corinthian Baptist Church July 23, 1931. I guess I’m looking up Ms. McGuire.

Mrs. Julia Wise (Grayson?) McGuire (1862- 1952), lived at 531 T St NW was the widow of Robert L. McGuire, and was an African American woman. That’s as much research as I want to do. I’ll write a bit about Corinthian Baptist Church. It was part of the 1957 Church Survey, so I have that link here.

Corinthian Baptist was at 3rd and Q before they moved to the unit block of Q. Corinthian Baptist at some point gave way to Ebeneezer Baptist. They sold their property to Mt. Sinai Baptist in July 23, 1948. The database says 7/20/1948 but that is definitely a 3 not a 0. Seems like July 23rd is a special date.

As you can see with your own eyes, the lots owned by the church managed to survive the urban renewal which created the Northwest Cooperative and Florida Avenue Park.

 

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- William C. Bates

Landowner list of Sq 551So William Cullom Bates (1856-1937) owned Square 551 lot 857 and at one time the confusing lot that sat on old lots 7 & 8. He and his wife Linnie/Melinda Bell Martin Bates (1859-1935) sold that to Novella F. Gibson. I can’t really tell where lot 857 is but a 1940 deed, selling the property, used to be 213 Q St NW. But looking at a map, a property sitting on 7 & 8 is 215 Q St NW.

In 1935, before they both died, they lived at 5712 Colorado Ave NW. In 1930 Mr. Bates was listed as retired but before that he was a salesman. Nothing special. If I was more sure about the address, I would take a guess of what he was doing with the property, as square 551 had commercial elements.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle: Novella F. Gibson

From Plate 38
Lots 8 and 7 between Reeves Alley and Q St NW.

I think I have a relative with the name “Novella”, so it is a very interesting name. Anywho, Novella F. Gibson owned lot 856 on Square 551, and I cannot find it for the life of me.  According to the 1933-1934 General Assessment, lot 856 was a strip of land with some structure on it.  In the land records she is Novella and Novalla and she owned lots 7, 8, and 189. With low numbers like 7 & 8 those are probably ‘old’ lot numbers that were divided into smaller lots of which she owned one or more.

In 1930 she was an African American housewife living at 136 Bates St NW in a home she and her husband Joseph M. Gibson owned, with their two children. Not all the documents involving her mention her husband who was the owner of a Tailor shop. Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle: Novella F. Gibson

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Charles M. Nash

Once again, I really like the Recorder of Deed Records. In 1933-1934 Charles M. Nash owned lot 853 on Square 551. But Charles Nash is a common enough name so I am thankful in a 1947 Deed his wife Doris H. Nash (1905-1975) is named when they sold the property to a Ms. Rosi H. Scott.

Doris and Charles Nash
April 18, 1959. Marault, France, Wedding of Charlie and Colette. Credit Ancestry.com and MicheleNash62

I also discovered he owned another lot on Square 551, lot 848 (144 R St NW).

Charles Matthews Nash Sr (1896-1967) was a native Washingtonian, He received a law degree from Georgetown Law School in 1917. The family lived in the Chevy Chase/ Bethesda/ Silver Spring area from 1930 onward. So never a resident of Truxton Circle.

In 1938 it appears that his mother Lucy Belle Matthews Nash (1860-1938) granted the lot to him. But there was some question and a year later there is a judgement where Pauline Needle was the plaintiff and Nash was the defendant.  In the final judgement various people, including Nash’s wife, his brother Raymond Nash and Lillard B. Fields (from the Edward Coleman post) were ordered to quitclaim various DC properties to Charles M. Nash. Apparently Ms. Needle had a judgement lien. Anyway, there were a lot of lawyers involved. Charles had a lawyer. Lillard Fields had a lawyer. A bunch of other people had lawyers, and of course, Pauline Needles had a lawyer. Lawyers for everybody! Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Charles M. Nash

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Edward D. Coleman

Landowner list of Sq 551Okay this is a very quick one. In the 1933-1934 General Assessment Edward D. Coleman (1901-1942) was listed as the owner of Square 551 lot 852. He and his wife Florence sold the lot in 1936 to Lillard (that’s an interesting name) Fields. This was another Reeves Alley property so I can’t really get a good address.

In the 1940 census Edward D. Coleman was a white 38 year old self-employed Real Estate Agent from Illinois. He lived at 1634 Monroe St NE with is wife and their 3 minor children.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Robert Martz

The problem with the Census is that sometimes the street isn’t clear. For a moment I thought the Martz family lived in Truxton Circle on R Street. However, looking at adjoining pages I figured out what Ancestry.com decided was a R in R St was actually K. The other thing was that I found the owner of Square 0551 lot 0851 (a wood structure in Reeves Alley) in the 1933-34 General Assessment was a family tree that did not know he had children.

Looking at the land records Robert William Martz bought the property, listed as old lot 19 in 1932 from John W. Hile. Then in 1935 he died in Clarendon, VA at the age of 46. His widow, Ethel Marie Lewis Martz (1895-1977) appears to have sold the property in 1942 to Paul J. Bower, who then sold the property to Embassy Dairy in 1947.

Square 551 (bounded by R, Florida, 1st, Q and 3rd Streets) was a mix of residential and commercial properties. In the 1930s Robert W. Martz was a coal and ice man running his own business. Since this property was in Reeves Alley as far as I can tell this could have been used for commercial reasons related to his business.

He did live at times in Washington, DC but not in Truxton or the Shaw areas.

I mentioned I wish I could amend or add to the family tree that left the Martz’ childless. Robert Martz (1889-1935) was survived by 3 children at the time of his death, Robert Jr. (1918-1999), Marie Ethel (later Marie Graham 1920-1990), and Catherine Elizabeth (later Thorpe, 1922-2009).

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Keysers and Ms. Harriet Crowell

Next on the list, as I go down it, is Sq. 551 and lot 850. Sigh, lot 850 is part of old lot 19, so this is going to be confusing. I’m just going to start with the land records and see where that takes me.

Searching for just lot 850, only two documents appear. The first is from 1947 between a Charles F. Wilson, trustee in Civil Action case file 38-115, and Embassy Dairy. The other is in 1948 for an easement/ right of way between the DC government and the Office of the Surveyor.

Another search with lot 0019 drags up the Leviovs, and Ms. Carrie Walker. The first document regarding the Kaysers is a deed from 1927 regarding the execution of the will of Esther A. Kayser by Caroline E.T. Knox and Elhanan Winchester Keyser. There are other relatives such as Harriet Esther Kayser Crowell, mentioned in the deed but it is oh so confusing with Kaysers and Keysers. To Ancestry! Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Keysers and Ms. Harriet Crowell

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Carrie G. Walker

My first question with this was, is Carrie Walker a man or woman. I need to know because it makes the searching in Ancestry easier. The property records has Carrie G. Walker, the daughter getting the land from Carrie Walker. The 1920 census, sigh, has Carrie Walker as the female head and Carrie G. Walker as the wife.

This is a misstatement.  A few fields over, the senior Carrie is listed as a widow and the junior Carrie as single. Looking at the 1900 and 1910 Census shows John Walker as the male head, Carrie senior as the wife and Carrie G. junior as the daughter. Okay, a reminder that the Census screws things up time to time.

Also from the census, I see the Walkers are African American resident owners (mullato/negro) living on R St NW. Later I could re-do this as Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle. They were at 216 R St NW in 1900 and Mr. Walker was the owner. In the later 1910 and 1920, the Walker family lived at 146 R St NW, square and lot 0551-0847. Did the address change or did they move? No idea.

The earliest land record I can see is from 1924 between Carrie G. Walker (the younger) and Needham C. Turnage to borrow $280.00 with 146 R NW as security. Then there are a series of loans she takes out using the property as collateral. So loan #1- 1924 Needham Turnage $280.00. Released (paid) 1938. #2-1926,  Kahn and Coleman/ Leo Kahn & E. Coleman, $375.00. Released 1927. #3- 1936, James B. Evans & Claude W. Owen, $372.00. Released 1938. #4- 1938, Washington Loan and Trust Company, $800.00. Released 1950. In 1951, she sells the land to Lawrence C. and Rosa A. Diggs.

Side note, a Carrie E. Walker buys 112 Florida Avenue NW (SSI: 0551-0178) in April 1934 from William H. Coates and Mamie D. Coates. A search for Carrie E. Walker in Ancestry is not particularly fruitful. The name does not change for the brief moment Carrie E. owns it, as she sells it 2 months later in June to Mary E. Baker.

Find Your Own Owners of Where Ever DC

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.

For this series- Property Owners of Truxton Circle, which could later apply to Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle, there are a couple of resources I use to find out about the owners. Continue reading Find Your Own Owners of Where Ever DC