Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Annie Brown- 69 N St NW

When we meet Annie Brown, owner of 69 N St NW, in the 1920 census, she is already a widow of the late Thomas Brown who died on December 27, 1917. She was a laundress, a common working class profession of Black women at that time.

photo of property

She did not remain a widow for long. In 1921 she married a much older Benjamin H. Harris, aka BH Harris. Annie was born around 1872 and BH around 1855.

In the 1920 census Annie lived alone. In the 1930 census she lived at 69 N St NW with her 75 year old husband BH, their 16 year old niece, Susie Vessels, and two roomers. She was still working as a laundress and he was a watchman for the post office. By 1931, both Annie and BH are dead.

Looking at the land records that go back to 1921, in July 1925 Annie Brown had a trust (borrowing money) with the Perpetual Building Association for $2,300. This is followed by a release in July 1925 of an August 1915 debt. She had another release from August 1925 which released a June 1913 debt and the document mentioned death of Thomas Brown. She has another trust (borrowing) from July 1929 with her new name of Annie Brown Harris. She borrowed $396.00 from trustees at 6%;  In a June 1930 trust Annie Brown Harris and BH Harris borrow $306.00 at 6%. We can surmise that she and BH have died by June 1931.

The June 1931 document had  Maria Hill, Molly L. Johnson, Ida King, Lucy J. King, Bessie Vessels, the wife of, William  L. Vessels in control of the property. This list of people were all of King & Queen County, VA  but at that time her property hadn’t cleared probate. They borrowed or took out a bond, I’m not sure, $3250 from the New York Title and Mortgage company. That same month they borrowed $1250 from trustees from the Percy H. Russell Co, Inc. In  October 1931 the heirs pay off (release) her May 1930, April 1929 and July 1925 debts. In June 1932, they sell to Inez J. and James C. Powell.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Harry R. Adams- 135 P St NW

Welcome again to Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle from the 1920 census. This post owners are Harry R. and Mary A. Adams of 135 P St NW.

135 P is the pinkish house. Not the Baltimore brick house.

Harry Richard Adams was born in March 16, 1875 in Palatka, Florida to Margaret J. Gainswell and James Adams.  He eventually moved to DC and married Mary Anne Twine in Aug 1913 in DC. They were the owners of 135 P St NW by 1917. In his World War I registration (1917/1918) , they were at 135 P St NW, where he wrote that he worked as a stationary (?) engineer at Armstrong, across the street from his house. I’ve noticed a few other AfAm home owners who worked at Armstrong. He died on October 1, 1958.

Let’s look at the land records and see what story they tell. The on line records go back to 1921 and the earliest I can find for 135 P St NW is a July 1929 release for Harry R. Adams and unnamed wife of a 1917 debt. This is followed by a May 1935 trust (borrowing money), to borrow from Washington Loan and Trust/ Equitable Co-Operative Building Assoc. forwarded shares worth $1,200. In Aug 1945 there was a release for a April/May 1935 Washington Loan and Trust/Equitable debt.

I hope that if I look at enough of these documents I will figure out what is going on. What I haven’t really figured out are some deeds that go back and forth. Such as two February 1947 deeds where Harry and Mary transfer ownership to Louise M. Redmond, who then transfers it back to the Adams. There are more trusts and releases. The Adams’ story ends in the 1980s. The home is sold by the executioner of Mary A. Adams’ will, Gertrude Farrar to Anne Rae Gales July 1983.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Morgan H. Dawkins- 109 P St NW

This is just another blog post about an everyday African American home owner in Truxton Circle.  So let us go back 100 years to the 1920 census to find a couple, husband and wife, who own their home.

photo of property

Morgan Henry Dawkins was born on March 31, 1886 in Shelton, SC to Henry and Lucy Dawkins. In 1900, he was living with his sister and brother in law in South Carolina. He married Carrie I. Cooke, daughter of Henry and Lavinia Cooke in Richmond, Virginia in 1908. In the 1910 census where Morgan is “Morris” the Dawkins family (Morgan Sr, Jr. and Carrie) lived at 626 3rd St NW in Washington, DC. Morgan Sr was a porter for the railroad. When he had to register for WWI’s draft around 1917/1918, the family had moved to 109 P St NW. By World War II, Morgan Sr. was working as a driver for Dupont Laundry (2335 Sherman Ave NW). Then Morgan Sr. died in 1946.

The earliest record from the DC Recorder of Deeds (1921-2021) is a trust from April 1928 for Morgan H. and Carrie C. Dawkins. They were advanced $1,100 worth of shares from the Washington Loan and Trust Company. What the heck that means? Don’t know. I’m guessing they borrowed $1,100.  This debt was paid or released in 1936. Later that month the Dawkins paid off a March 1918 debt with a release.

In a 1936 trust with the Washington Loan and Trust Company reported the death of Carrie C. Dawkins on May 20, 1933. In that same document, widower Morgan H. Dawkins borrowed 2,300.

In 1939 he borrowed a small amount of money from individual trustees. It was $180.00 at 6% interest.

In 1947, funeral director Morgan H. Dawkins Jr and his wife Ora (formerly Ora Felice Edwards) of Newport News, VA sold the property to Flonnie M. Foster. Ms, Foster then sold it to Mary B. Lee later that same year.

Note the Washington Loan and Trust Company debts are signed off by the Equitable Co-Operative Building Association. What does this mean? No clue. Just wanted to mention it. I hope in time the more I look at these documents, that I’ll figure it out.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: P Dallas Washington- 63 N St NW

For the 3 people who read this blog, welcome back to the series where I pick the name of a Black home owner from the 1920 census who lived in Truxton Circle, and try to track their life in this DC neighborhood.

photo of property

At first I thought this was going to be another dead end, because P Dallas Washington looked like a fake name to me. But digging into the on line Recorder of Deeds records I found the owner, Marie Elizabeth Hillmon. And then looked her up and found her living in 1910 at 63 N St NW with Dallas P Hillman, a “lodger” and Harriett Washington, another lodger.

Everyso often I find relatives listed as “lodgers”. I’m not sure what that is all about. I’m sure they had their reasons.

In order to try not to be confused I’ll look at who was captured in the 1910 census and compare to the 1920 census. Marie E. Hillmon (land records) or Hillman (census) was the head in 1910. In 1910 she was a single 30 year old school teacher at Armstrong High School. She lived with her 65 year old uncle Charles Hillman a widowed hotel waiter, her 34 brother Elyah A. Hillman, a barber, and the two lodgers, 50 year old Dallas and 18 year old Harriett. In 1920, Dallas P. Washington is now the head and Marie Hillmon (Marie H.) is now his wife and still a teacher. Charles the uncle is still living there, still a waiter, but he managed to decrease in age to 54.  And they have a 28 year old lodger, a clerk at the Navy Yard, with the name Josie Washington. Since Miss. Washington is from Mississippi I will believe the same last name is a coincidence.

I found Mary Elizabeth in the 1900 census. Before I go on, I going to admit a prejudice, or bias. I’m okay with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest and stories about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as long as I forget the romantic couples are closely related. If I think about it, I’m grossed out. So in 1900, 20 year old Mary Hillmon was living 814 G St, with her brother and her mother, who was the sister of the head, Dallas Washington. Did she marry her maternal uncle? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

The land records tell an interesting story. The first document is a February 23, 1934 release for Marie E. Hillmon for a 1915 debt. This was followed by an August 30, 1934 trust for $3,500 at 6% interest. In 1915 she was unmarried. In 1934, it appears her name was Marie Elizabeth Russell. But in 1939, it appears Mary Elizabeth Hillmon lost the property for failure to pay taxes in 1938. But managed to get it back with a quit claim deed in 1940 as Marie W. Russell. W for Washington? It seems she had the same back tax problem in 1941, lost possession and got it back with another quit claim deed in 1946. After that I cannot find her. The next document is a 1963 trust between the Diamond Housing Corporation and Lanier P. McLachlen and CC Guertler. I have no idea where Mary/Marie went.

I looked at the 1930 census and city directory and there is a Marie W. Rubel living there. Going back to 1921 city directory PD Washington was listed for 63 N St NW. Then in the 1922 city directory Mrs. Marie W. Washington and in 1923 Marie W. Rubel. I give up on this lady.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Samuel Smith- 20A O St NW- dead end

I see this address in the 1920 census and my first thought that even though the head may be African American, I doubt he’s the home owner. This is because the ‘A’ in the 20A O St NW, tells me this is a 2 flat property. And in this area of Truxton Circle it is possible this property belonged to the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC).

And what happens when I check the DC Recorder of Deeds on line records? Sam Smith is no where to be found. Like another post that was sort of a dead end, we have a person reporting they are a home owner to a WSIC property. The earliest record for this lot (Sq 617 lot 180) start with WSIC selling on June 16, 1950.

Who was Sam Smith? Do I want to even bother? With a last name of Smith, I wouldn’t be doing myself any favors. But here goes. Samuel Smith (no middle name) was born February 17, 1885 somewhere in Georgia. He was married to a woman named Minnie, also born in Georgia. Around 1917/1918 he lived with his wife at 20A O St NW with Minnie L. Smith and was working for PEPCO (Potomac Electric Power Company). They were still at 20A O St NW for the 1940 census. His name was too common for me to try to find him elsewhere.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: William S. Daniels- 133 P St NW

Once again, I’ve picked the name of a Black home owner from the 1920 census who lived in Truxton Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC. It helps if their name isn’t took common. There were several William Daniels in Washington DC.

photo of property

So it looks like the Daniels moved to P St NW around 1917/1918. William Samuel Daniels’ World War I registration card which is about 1917 or 1918 has the family at 18A O St NW, also in the Truxton Circle neighborhood.

The first document from the Recorder of Deeds site is a release (debt was paid) from July 1942 of an August 1918 debt William S. and Sarah S. Daniels. Sarah is Sara S. Daniels in the paperwork, spelled differently than what is on the census roll.

She took on more debt in 1947 and 1949 from the Washington Loan and Trust Company, alone. William is not mentioned. So we are left to assume he died or they separated. The 1948 city directory said Sarah was a widow. So dead. She borrowed money twice again from the Washington Loan and Trust Company between 1949 and 1954. Sara (nee Huskins) was dead and left a will that I cannot find.

Since I cannot find Sara S. Daniels’ will, I can’t say how Mary Jane Mathews and others were related to her. If I read the deed transferring it away from the deceased Sara Daniels to Joseph P. and Rose Simon. It does tell us that Frances C. White was married to John J. White.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Hamilton Rucker- 42 O St NW- not exactly a dead end

Image of plat mapIn this segment of Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle we have a house where the lot number has changed. I went to look for one of those DCRA photos of the house from 2004, there was none. When I plugged the square and lot number (SSL: 0617 0224) into the DC Recorder of Deeds database, it doesn’t go any further back than 1951. So then I need to hunt down the original lot number, and it appears to be lot number 169. That only goes as far back as 1950 and it appears the property actually belongs the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company.


I just looked up Hamilton Rucker and could not find that name associated with any property.

So I looked at the 1902-1903 General Assessment. Lots on square 617 (bounded by O, 1st, N, North Cap and NY Ave) from 169 to 183 and more were owned by George M. Sternberg et al and trustees, which was the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC). Doctor Brigadier General Sternberg was on the board of the WSIC.

40-O-St-NW-WDC-20001WSIC owned a great number of properties in Truxton Circle. That’s another post. But did Hamilton Rucker own 42 O St NW, Imma gonna say no. This was not exactly a dead end because I got to talk about the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company and it only plays a part in my eventual deep dive into the WSIC, as I have warned.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: William F. Turner- 107 P St NW

In this post of Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle I go all over this great United States of America, chasing down William Foster Turner and his wife Minnie Lee Turner. Okay I just go out West, but I had to wander pass the Mississippi.

In 1920 William F. Turner was an African American government clerk who lived and owned 107 P St NW with his wife Minnie. He was born on October 2, 1874 in the state of Arkansas. In July 1899 he married Minnie Lee Slaughter, the daughter of James and Sarah Slaughter, a barber and laundry woman in White County, Arkansas. They lived with a lodger, another clerk, named Joseph H. Goldsby.

photo of property

The farthest back I can find the Turners is in the 1900 Census where the twenty something couple was living in Indian Territory. Seriously, where the form says state, the census has Indian Territory. They lived in a town called Wagoner, and maybe that’s Wagoner, OK. William was a teacher. They lived with Minnie’s brother, Edward (Eddie) Slaughter, a 21 year old day laborer.

In 1910 they were living back in Searcy, Arkansas with Minnie’s widowed mother and her 35 year old brother Will H. In Arkansas, William was a government clerk. It’s not clear if he was working for the Census Bureau or the Commerce Department.

The earliest record I can find of the Turners in Washington, DC at 107 P St NW, is William’s World War I registration in 1917/1918. At the time he was working as a clerk for the US Patent Office.

Something happened.

Yes, that’s history, something happening. But something happened and it appears William Turner moved to Denver, CO without Minnie. In the 1930 census William F. Turner lived with his sister Lulu, brother Forrest W., their father Benjamin, and the Pinkett niece and nephews. He was working as a salesman for a publishing company. He is reunited with Minnie by the 1940 census, where they are living in Denver, CO together alone.

Was losing the house the thing that happened? Because that happened. The on-line land records go back to 1921 and the earliest record is a 1923 trust between the Turners and the Columbia Building Association for $3000. I’m just going to skip to the end. In 1930 the Turners borrowed $715.00 at 7% interest, through trustees Raymond D and F Thomas Evans. In 1931, the Evans foreclosed because the Turners defaulted on the loan. They advertised in the Washington Herald that they would sell to the highest bidder.

The Turners died in 1966 in Colorado. They are buried with William’s brother Forrest W. Turner in Denver.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Charles Cummings – 105 P St NW

Welcome to the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series. In this series, I pick the name of a Black home owner from the 1920 census who lived in Truxton Circle, and try to track their life in this DC neighborhood.

photo of property

The 1920 Census poses a question, because there is the main Charles Cummings, a sailor, who lived at 105 P St NW with his wife Sallie, his brother-in-law Roger B. Griffin, and lodgers, Mr. James and Mrs. Ollie Brown. And another Charles Cummings, a 42 year old married cook on a US Naval ship, in the Navy Yard, of a name I cannot make out. Are these the same guy? It is very possible he was counted twice. It wouldn’t have been the first person I found who was counted twice.

Doesn’t matter much because he died August 6, 1927.

The DC Recorder of Deeds land records go back to 1921. When looking at 105 P St NW (Sq. 552 lot 186) the records don’t have a lot of Chuck in it. The first record is a trust (borrowing money) from August 28, 1928, between Charles’ widow Sallie R. Cummings and trustees associated with the Columbia Building Association for the sum of $1,500. It is in that document that it is mentioned that and when Charles Cummings died. This debt was paid in 1940.

The following document was a September 1928 release acknowledging payment for a debt taken out by Charles and Sallie R. Cummings in 1918.

Sallie borrowed money again in 1939 from trustees for the amount of $960.00. This debt was paid off in 1943.

In a 1967 trust the document mentioned that Sallie R. Cummings had passed away and Clarence E. Smith inherited the property. Who was Clarence E. Smith? No idea. In the 1967 document he owed $2,125 to Century Investors Inc.

I’m not sure what happened because the next document is from May 1971 and it transfers the property from the American Security and Trust Company to George Basiliko. Two months later there is a release for Clarence E. Smith for the 1967 debt. Once again. I’m not sure what just happened.

But that is not the last time the Cummings and Mr. Smith appear.

In November of 1971 Clarence E. Smith, a divorced man, signed a trust document, for the consideration of $14,000 to transfer the property to the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). In this document we’re given Sallie’s death date, September 2, 1964, as well as Charles’ death date. Like before, I’m not sure what was going on there.

The following document for the property is a contract for a whole slew of Truxton Circle properties written up by RLA. I should investigate it. But not now. Because I’d need to do some research about what the hell the city was up to in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Rando Truxton History- Love & Marriage September 16, 1952

So I was looking for other bits of information an came across page 20 of the Evening Star for 9/16/1952 and found an article “Marriage License Applications” on some rando website. A safer website would be the Library of Congress’ site Chronicling America for the page.

There are two Truxton Circle addresses in there. And as part of my effort to research the bejezus out of the TC here they are-

Isiah Thompson 50, 3432 Warder St NW to Susan Craven, 45, of 1431 New Jersey Ave NW.

David Tyson, 18, 1618 4th St NW to Willie West, 17, 2022 4th St NW.

So I went digging. DC native, Willie Mae West Tyson (link only works if you are logged into AncestryLibrary) was the daughter of William Henry West and Grace Jenkins, born January 13, 1935. In the 1940 census her mother was listed as a widow seamstress working for the WPA project. They lived at 2022 4th St NW. According to her social security info, she was also known as Willie Mae Ebb. I couldn’t find anything on her husband David.

Nor could I find anything I felt worth noting about Susan Craven or Isiah Thompson.