New Bethany Baptist Church at 1300 10th St NW is still located in the Logan Circle area of Shaw. In 1957 it was a medium sized African American church with 500 members who mostly lived the the Northwest Urban Renewal Area. They didn’t provide percentages of age distributions or occupations. They wrote that they had many kids and over half were between 33 and 55. Most of the congregation were unskilled labor with some being white collar government workers.
In the 1930 census John T. Wilson is listed as the owner and head of household for 114 Florida Ave NW. It’s on square 551, which means it no longer exists. Run around at the Florida Avenue Park and you’ll probably be where his house was.
John Thomas Wilson was born May 17, 1886 in Durham, NC. He married Bessie M. Gaskins on September 20, 1911. She was listed as his wife on the 1930 census. He worked for the US Department of Agriculture.
The Wilson purchased 114 Florida Avenue NW on October 15, 1926. Prior to moving to Truxton Circle, he and his wife were living with in-laws, the Gaskins, at 4335 Polk St NE. In order to purchase 144 FL Ave NW, he was indebted to Clarence Deveile and Royal Mundy, trustees who had previously owned the property a few months prior, for $3,900.
I am learning, but I won’t pretend I know all that is going on with the land records. But back in 1922, a previous owner, the widow Maggie Lee owed $3,900 to trustees William A. Bowie and Clarence M. Deveile. She borrowed from Deveile and a new partner, again in 1924 for $350 and $1268. Maggie Lee sold it to Royal G. Mundy in March 1926. Royal G. and his wife Emma Mundy was borrowed from Deveile and another partner for $250. In May 1926, the Mundys transferred the property to Clarence M. Deveile.
After the Wilsons bought 114 Florida Avenue, debts from previous owners started clearing. The Mundys’ debts were cleared in December 1926, as was Maggie Lee’s. In January 1927 a debt from a owner prior to Maggie Lee, Samuel and Jennie Rappoport who borrowed in 1919, was cleared. February 1927, for September 1922 and October 1924 debts by Maggie Lee was cleared. So a year after she sold it, all of her debts were cleared.
The Wilsons paid off the October 1926 debt on February 3, 1927. February 4, 1927 they do this weird thing I’ve noticed in other land records. Usually it is done to add someone or remove someone from the previous deed. What’s going on here? Beats me. Whatever it was, Deveile borrowed $4,250 from Equitable Life Insurance.
The same day (Feb 4, 1927) the Wilsons have the property transferred back to them and they borrowed $4500 from Mundy and Deveile.
Ten days later there are more documents regarding the release of debts from 1916 and a Maggie Lee 1920 debt.
January 7, 1928 the Wilsons borrowed $600 from trustees Deveile and Mundy. Same date the next year (1/7/1929) the Wilsons borrowed $616 from Deveile and James L. Nielle.
September 11, 1929 it appeared that the Wilsons sold their home to R. Lawrence Plummer. The next document is a 1930 Trustees Deed, which pops up when a property has been foreclosed and auctioned. The auction was announced in the Washington Herald on June 23rd. The property was transferred to the widow Emma Gilmore by DeVeile & Mundy. The final nail was a 1932 Code Deed that transferred the property from the Wilsons to Gilmore, however it was only signed by Gilmore and the notary.
Despite all that, the Wilsons were still at 114 Florida Ave NW during World War II, after they lost legal possession. Checking the 1940 census, John claimed that he owned the property. They were still there for the 1950 census, but the 1950 census does not have ownership information. Sadly that info is lost to time.
John T. Wilson died January 1965. Bessie died in 1980.
This is a continuation of part 1. I search the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site for newspaper articles about the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) and Truxton Circle. There will be more parts, most of it are auction sales when WSIC off loaded their properties in the mid-late 1950s.
Real Estate Transfers– Evening star. [volume], December 19, 1916, Page 7.”NORTHWEST; BATES STREET between North Capitol and 1st streets northwest; 14 TO 42 O STREET NORTHWEST; HALF STREET between M and N streets southwest; 57 TO 81 L STREET NORTHEAST –George H. Harries and George M. Kober, surviving trustees of the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, to Washington Loan and Trust Company, trustee, lots 170 to 182, Square 509; lots 33, 34 and part of lot 35, lots 49 to 79, 80 to 94, 98 to 150, square 552; lots 134 to 140, 170 to 179, 195 to 207, 236 to 256, 258 to 265. square 615; lots 169 to 183, square 617; lots 33 to 90, 92 to 120, 122, 123, 125 to 147, square 651; lots 415 to 427, square 674.”
John J. Edson Quits Bank Presidency-Declines Re-Election as Head of Washington Loan and Trust Company- John B. Larner Succeeds- Succeeded Mr. Warner– Evening star. [volume], January 10, 1917, Page 5 -“He has been treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States since its organization, of the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, the National Geographic Society from 1901 to date; of the Associated Charities
from 1894, and was formerly treasurer of the George Washington University.
For many years he has been chairman of the Summer Outing Committee for Children: and he was president and trustee of the National Homeopathic Hospital from 1889 to 1905.”
Total of $366,932 in D.C. Building– Evening star. [volume], March 01, 1930, Page B-3. “Washington Sanitary Improvement Co., owner; A. S. Johnson & Co., builders; to reroof, 200 to 230 and 201 to 229 Bates street (lots 132 to 147 and ‘ 80 to 94, square 552); to cost $1,500.”
Permits- Repair Work– Evening star. [volume], June 18, 1938, Page B-2. “Washington Sanitary Improvement Co., 915 F street N.W., owners; Edson & Bressler, Bond Building, builders; to erect brick garage, 121 Bates street N.W.; to cost $1,400.”
Instead of looking at individual addresses, which I’ll still keep doing, let’s look at the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) in the newspaper for Truxton Circle. I have to limit it to Truxton Circle because WSIC had investment properties in various other parts of Washington, DC and I really want to focus on the TC.
This is broken up into parts because newspaper announcement of auctions of individual properties makes the post too long.
Building Permits Issued– Evening star. [volume], April 21, 1905, Page 12. “To the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, thirteen two-story brick dwellings, 147 to 171 P street northwest, to cost $39,000; thirteen two-story brick dwellings, 146 to 170 Bates street northwest, to cost $39,000; six two-story brick dwellings, 100
to 113 and 121 to 125 Bates street northwest, to cost $18,000.” “To Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, three two-story brick dwellings, 120 to 124 O street northwest; cost $9,000.”
BUILDING PERMITS TOTAL $209,215– Evening star. [volume], January 19, 1929, Page 15– “Repairs to Be Made. Washington Sanitary Improvement Co., owner; to make repairs to porches,
200 to 230 Bates street and 201 to 231 P street (lots 132 to 147, 111 to 119 and 148 to 150. square 552); to cost $1,044.
Washington Sanitary Improvement Co., owner; to repair porches. 15 to 77 and 44 to 76 Bates street (lots 195 to 207, 253 to 256. 134 to 140, 237 to 244, 245. 811 to 818 and 258 to 265), square 615); to cost $1,436.”
Home Building Shows Increase– Evening star. [volume], October 22, 1932, Page B-3. “Washington Sanitary Improvement
Co., owners; George E. Locknane, designer; Mutual Construction Co., builders; to erect one 2-story brick apartment, 130 Q street, to cost $10,000.”
Transactions Brings End to Low-Rent Housing– Evening star. [volume], November 04, 1950, B-1 & Firm’s Sale Brings End to Low-Rent ExperimentB4. The WSIC came to an end. They rented to whites and blacks. WSIC informed white tenants that they intended to sell the units to African Americans. Unhappy tenants created the Tenants Committee to Protest Eviction. “The units so far offered for sale are mainly located on Bates street between North Capitol and Third streets N.W.; on Third street between P and Q streets N.W.; on Q street, between Second and Third -streets N.W., and on P street between Second and Third streets N.W.”
List of properties sold (address, yr. acquired, no. of buildings):
1501-1551 Third street N.W., 1904, 24 buildings.
124-230 Q street N.W., 1905, 24 buildings.
201-231 P street N.W., 1905, 16 buildings.
14-42 O street N.W., 1901, 15 buildings.
14- 28 Bates street N.W., 1905, 8 buildings.
30-94 Bates street N.W., 1900, 25 buildings.
15- 77 Bates street N.W., 1900, 32 buildings.
119-229 Bates street N.W., 1905, 26 buildings.
200-230 Bates street N.W., 1905, 16 buildings.
416-441 Warner street N.W., 1902, 13 buildings. <- Not in TC but wanted to add.
Auction Sales- Thos. J. Owen & Son– Evening star. [volume], August 09, 1956, Page B-11– 214 Bates St NW was to be sold for approx. $7,750. 200A Bates St NW, to be sold for approx. $8,000. 132A Que St NW to be sold for approx. $8K. (54A Bates St NW to be auctioned too)
Most Truxton Circle residents of the past are regular Joes or Joannas. They lived, they worked, they moved away and eventually they died. Many were cooks, laborers, cops, teachers, and barbers. Some were doctors or ministers.
For the past couple of years, I have been writing up quickie bios of these regular people. I’ve searched genealogical sites, DC land records and sometimes a run of the mill Google search. It’s usually the Google search that reveals someone has a Wikipedia page.
Eloyce Gist (Mayme E. King-Patrick-Gist-Wood-Savage)
It was the Google search that revealed who she was. I was looking for Mayme Gist, and got several Eloyce Gist hits and discovered this hair dresser was also a filmmaker. Not only does she have a Wikipedia page, she has an IMDB page, and two posts on this blog.
Like Dr. Carrie H. Thomas there isn’t much of a Wikipedia page for Mrs. Pope. She does have a better Baha’i wiki page. The current Wikipedia page says her gravestone is lost because Black people’s gravestones were used to prevent erosion of the Potomac. That sounds a little off to me. The more fleshed out Baha’i site they wrote, “In 1960, the graves at Columbian Harmony Cemetery, including that of Pocahontas Pope, were relocated to the National Harmony Memorial Park in Maryland”. She owned and lived at 1500 1st St NW and knew several other featured TC Black Homeowners.
Do you know of any other Truxton Circle residents from the past with Wikipedia pages?
Welcome back to my series where I plug in the address of a Washington Sanitary Improvement Co rental home in the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper search and see what relevant articles come up. If I feel like it, I’ll look at the Washington Post/Washington Star search in ProQuest. Then we’ll see what pops up. I’ll leave it to you to make up your own story.
In the 1920s a manager or distributor of the Washington Times lived at 141 Bates, so there were too many posts related to newspaper promotions. Also it appears a resident of 141 Bates owned 1234 R.I. Ave NE, as there are classified ads about it. I’m leaving out a number of 1920s posts.
Times Gives Children Chance to See ‘Bread’– The Washington Times, July 26, 1924. Part of a promotion for a Metro-Goldwyn film. Donate a loaf of bread and get a free ticket. 141 Bates street northwest was listed as a location.
Many Loaves of Bread Given– The Washington Times, July 29, 1924. 141 Bates street northwest was a Times branch location where people could drop off bread for movie tickets. Bread would go to the Salvation Army.
Man Killed by Car of Policeman In Probe of Earlier Auto Death– Evening Star, June 16, 1948. Stuart J. Gay, 34, of 141 Bates St N.W. died crossing Baltimore Blvd at Murkirk in PG Co. Gay was a Merchant Marine veteran and was in service during WWII. He had
lived in Washington for the last 11 years. He was native of Charlottesville, VA. He worked as a carpenter there before coming to Washington. Gay was survived by his widow. Trosy Gay, and three daughters; Frances, 14; Sylvia, 12, and Jacqueline, 5.
Hacker Killed by Police Car After Probe of Earlier Fatality– Evening Star, June 16, 1948. Stuart J. Gay, 34, of 141 Bates street N.W. death.
So I’m doing newspaper searches for Washington Sanitary Imp. Co. houses, and I’m doing 1930 Truxton Circle Black Homeowners. Then I thought, why not do a quickie newspaper search just covering the years of the Powell’s ownership, 1921-1971. The Library of Congress has the Evening Star and other DC newspapers that are not the Washington Post, up to 1963. So from 1963 to 1971, I’ll search the Washington Post.
For Sale- Houses– Evening star. [volume], October 03, 1920, Page 19. FOR SALE- TO COLORED FAMILY- 120 Florida Ave. N.W.
Bay-window brick. 8 large rooms and bath on two doors. Hot-water heat and gas. Newly papered and painted. Lot to alley. Room for
garage. Possession in 30 days. The price is right and can sell on terms. T. B. BROWN CO.
Deaths-Powell, Charles S.– Evening star. [volume], August 03, 1954, Page A-10. On Friday, July 30, 1954, at his residence, 120 Florida ave. n.w. CHARLES S. POWELL, devoted husband of Mrs. Willie N. Powell, brother of Mrs. Georgia A. Patterson, uncle of Edward A. Patterson and Mrs. Dorothy Bank. Many other relatives and friends also survive. After 2 p.m. Tuesday. August 3, friends may call at Frazier’s Funeral Home. 389 Rhode Island ave. n.w. Funeral Wednesday. August 4. at 10:30 a.m. at the Asbury Methodist Church. 11th and K sts. n.w. Interment at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.
Charles Samuel Powell was born on May 15, 1886 in Newnan, GA. He married his wife, Willie, in 1917. He worked for the Federal government as a clerk.
Looking at the 1933-1934 General Assessment the property (0551 lot 174) both Charles and his wife Willie N. Powell were on record for owning 120 Florida Ave NW.
They purchased their house 8/5/1921 from Mary Dewey. It appears they borrowed $1,160 from trustees Bradford & Smith to purchase the property.
They borrowed again in June 1924 $2,250 at 7% interest from trustees Purcell & Zepp. Again in February 1927 from trustees Kraft and Goldstein for the amount of $1875. The Purcell & Zepp debt was settled in 1927.
There were a lot more debts and releases (settled debts) in the 1920s and 1930s. There are so many, I will not mention them individually.
In April 1941, the Powells borrowed $4000 from the American Security and Trust Company. That same day they also borrowed $292.37 from trustees in a matter related to the Superior Construction Corporation. This leads me to believe they were having work done on the house. It appears they paid off their debt to the American Security and Trust Co. (then the National Permanent Savings and Loan Association) in September 1963.
In the 1950 census, their birth state changed to Texas. That’s probably incorrect. They were still at 120 Florida Ave and they had three roomers below the age of 29.
The house was sold in 1971 by the remaining spouse, Willie N. Powell. Charles had died on July 30th, but no year was given on the documents. She had sold it to DC’s Redevelopment Land Agency or basically, the DC government.
Hen in Detective’s Backyard is By-Product of Crime Merger- Abandoned by Thief Who Steals Automobiles to Aid in Chicken-Pilfering Business-Evening Star, June 20, 1930, Page B-1. Henry Blankenship of 139 Bates street had his automobile stolen from in front of his house.
I’m going to try something. Sometimes I find interesting information just plugging in an address. So I have searched “137 Bates” a Washington Sanitary Improvement rental and looked to see what popped up.
These are in chronological order. Make your own story of them.
Classified Ad-Situations Wanted Male- AM LOOKING FOR A POSITION STRONG AND healthy- Willing. 137 Bates St. nw. The Washington Post (1877-1922), Mar 22 1907, p. 14.
Hold for Attack on Child– The Washington Post (1877-1922) 24 Dec 1907, p. 4. Frank R. Riley of 137 Bates St NW was jailed for attacking 10 year old Mary Butler of 1303 Klinkers Ct NW.
Thinks Strange man Robbed Them– Evening Star 19 Feb 1909. Frank R. Riley of 137 Bates NW was robbed at 2nd and East Cap Sts.
Tired of Living- Frank Riley Drank Laudanum with Suicidal Intent– Evening Star 21 Feb. 1909. Frank Riley’s sister found him and he went to the hospital.
Once Kidnapped Now He Is At Vera Cruz– The Washington Herald 07 May 1914. George Nelson Miller, 20, of 137 Bates NW, was a coalpasser aboard the Florida at Vera Cruz. His mother was Mrs. Margie M. Johnson, also of 137 Bates NW.
Three Divorce Suits Filed– The Washington Times 23 Dec. 1927. Nancy E. Miller of 1920 L St NE named George N. Miller of 137 Bates NW as a correspondent, accusing him of misconduct. Jacob Halper was his lawyer.
Marriage License Applications– Evening Star 04 Aug. 1949. Nelson V. Tubbs, 22, of 139 Bates St NW to marry Beverly J. Trite, 18, 137 Bates St NW.
Marriage License Applications– Evening Star 05 Feb. 1952. Earl Davis, 18, 137 Bates St NW to marry Shirley Greene, 18, 816 6th St NW.
Douglas Son Among 109 Up For Induction- The Washington Post (1923-1954), Sep 06 1953, p. 1. Local Board No. 7- Charles A. Davis of 137 Bates St. nw up for the Army draft.
Gang of 4 Accused in 18 Housebreakings– The Washington Post (1923-1954), Oct 02 1953, p. 33. Ringleader Bronston T. Weldon, 23, of 447 Ridge St nw, implicated Earl W. Davis, 19, of 137 Bates St. nw in house break-ins.
34 Lose Auto Permits, 77 Get Suspensions– Evening Star 03 Aug. 1958. Bernard Davis was suspended for no license or registration.
Marriage License Applications– Evening Star 02 Nov. 1958 Lonnie Lovely, 20, and Jeanne Ferguson, 22, both of 137 Bates St NW.
Permits of 44 Drivers Are Revoked By District– Evening Star 21 Jan. 1960. Earl W. Davis had his license revoked for an accumulated record of at least 12 points.
Public Notice- Invitation for Bids– The Washington Post (1974-), Nov 28 1980, p. 1. The DC Department of Housing and Community Development sought bid from licensed contractors for 137 Bates St NW and other DC properties.
115 LEGAL NOTICES– he Washington Post (1974-), Nov 08 1982, p. 1. The Department of Licenses, Investigations and Inspections might provide an occupancy permit for 137 Bates Street NW.