Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: The Garretts of 1408 3rd St NW ver.2.0

I posted before about the Garretts, but I wasn’t as familiar with the land records and Ancestry has improved a bit.

In my last post about the Garretts, I wrote:

John W. Garrett of 1408 3rd Street NW (SSL:W0553-0810) who was listed as a mulatto (African American)  Engineer and head of household. In 1920, Mr. Garrett was a 70 year old West Virginia native living with his 2 daughters Beatrice E. Garrett and Armetia M. Johnson and 7 year old granddaughter Marjorie Johnson. By the 1930 Census Mr. Garrett had died, Armeta/Armetia was listed as the head and her 1920 sister was now her partner? (head tilt) Both Beatrice and Armeta were dressmakers, probably self employed dressmakers. They could have been in business with each other. In 1940 the inhabitants of 1408 3rd are listed as renters, including Beatrice Jarrott, which sounds awfully like Beatrice Garrett. They could be the same person, but the ages don’t line up. She could have lied about her age, adding on 10 years in the 1940 census.

Looking at the land records there isn’t much. But I understand it. In the 1920 census the house was listed as being owned free and clear, and they kept it that way. Under the Garretts there are no trusts (mortgages). We don’t see anything until 1951 when the daughter Beatrice Garrett and granddaughter Marjorie Ellen Rand sell the house to Violet M. Barbour, who took out a loan for $4,500 at 6% interest.

photo of propertyNow back to John W. Garrett. He was impressive in the census. For the 1910 census he claimed to be a fireman for the post office. In 1920 he said he was an engineer. He was a laborer in 1891 working for the post office, making $660 (a year?) and living at 1408.   In a 1915 city directory he’s listed as a laborer for the Post Office Department.  In the 1920 city directory he is listed as a messenger for the post office. I finally found city directories for 1898, 1899 and 1900 confirming his position as a fireman. Which didn’t last long because in the 1901 directory he was an elevator operator. A 1905 document listing government employees confirmed that he was an elevator operator, making $720.00, working for the Office of the Postmaster. I would love to see his employee file and maybe an explanation of why he was bouncing around to different positions. It appears he may have died in 1922.

Beatrice Elizabeth Garrett was born May 6, 1893 to James Wesley Garrett and Jane Ann Giles. In the census and in city directories her occupation had been as a seamstress or dressmaker. She disappears from Ancestry searches after the 1940 census. We know she lived till 1951 because she signed the deed.