Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: James H. Twaites- 16 N St NW- Land of Confusion

The reason why I pick names from the 1920 census is so I can compare them to the Recorder of Deed’s online records, which start around 1921. At first, I thought I had a dead end. The first few names and documents did not mention the Twaites, an African American family who lived at 16 N St NW. The owners appeared to be James D. and Gertrude A. Davis.

photo of property

There is one odd ball document with the Twaites. Just one. I cannot link them up to a deed of them selling or the property being transferred. It, document 192508250127, a release, seems out of place.

I did find other property that seems more legit on the other side of New Jersey Avenue NW at either 1501 or 1503 5th St NW, that’s the corner of 5th and P St NW, where the KIPP school sits. And then another property, just in James W.H. Twaites’ name, at 5 Logan Circle NW.

James William Henry Twaites was born October 15, 1875 in Maryland. He married Barbara Anderson in 1908 in Washington, DC. They had a son, Elester A. Twaites (1909-1923). James belonged to the Elks lodge at 3rd and Rhode Island Ave NW. He died on December 10, 1951.


Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Charles A. Twine- 31 Q St NW

Charles A. Twine, who appeared as Charles Irvine in the 1920 Census, is the next subject in the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle.  However, he and his wife sell the property, move to another part of DC and eventually make their way back to Truxton Circle but at another address, which I’ll deal with in another post.

photo of property

Dr. Charles Andrew Twine was born on October 6, 1890 (or October 5, 1888 depending on his mood when filling out forms) in Washington, DC to Andrew Twine and Carrie Thomas Twine. At sometime in the early 1900s he married LaFonde Palmer McCormick. They had about 4 children, Charles A. Jr., Mildred, Edward Ambrose, and Vernell Twine (a daughter who died at the age of 5).

In 1920, Charles worked as a clerk. He lived there with his wife, and children, Charles, Mildred and Vernell, and two roomers. The roomers were a couple Marvin and Barrie Rhodes.

According to the Recorder of Deeds land records, which start around 1921, the first half of their TC story is short. On December 20, 1922 Charles and LaFonde P. Twine sold the property to Albert R. Clark. And that’s it. Debts from April 1917 were paid off in the transaction…..And that’s pretty much it.

The 1930 census showed the Twine family living at 1361 Florida Ave NE. Before that, in 1923, when their little girl Vernell died, they lived at 3335 Sherman Ave NW.

I was not able to pin their location in the 1940 census. Instead there were other sources that place them back in Truxton Circle. a 1942 draft card had him at 135 P St NW. Several Evening Star articles with other family members are evidence of them living at 135 P St NW.  His son Charles A. Twine Jr appears at 135 P St NW in a ad he placed. In a death notice, his sister Ida Twine Ponton, (widow of Rev. MM Ponton) lived at 135 P St NW. I will address their tenure on P Street in another post.

Charles A Twine Sr died at 135 P St NW on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1950.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Carrie H. Thomas- 1629 New Jersey Ave NW

When I see the name Carrie, I think of a shy blonde gal who gets blood dumped on her. But this is not a high schooler with supernatural powers, this Carrie is an African American teacher in 1920s Truxton Circle.

photo of property

Carrie Howard Thomas was born the second daughter to Jefferson Thomas and Mary E. Stevenson on March 5, 1868 in Washington, DC. The 1880 census had her living at 448 O St NW with her dad, who worked as a school janitor, mom, sister and four younger brothers.

By 1900 the family moved to 1629 New Jersey Ave NW, a home that Jefferson Thomas owned. Jefferson was still a school janitor and Carrie was a teacher. But she was no mere school teacher. She was Dr. C.H. Thomas, graduate from Howard University’s medical school.She also has a Wikipedia entry, which in danger of being deleted for her lack of notability. Here is a description of her career from the entry:

Prior to the 1880s, there had been no consistent teaching of physical education in Washington D.C. public schools for African American children. Thomas played an early role in overseeing the improvement improving physical education, with Edwin Bancroft Henderson later revolutionizing the system. In 1892, she was appointed Superintendent of Heredity and Hygiene, assisting in supervising physical education.

On June 30 that year, she wrote a report, signed “C.H. Thomas,” detailing visits twice a month to the schools, supervising lesson plans, and observing the physical education classes. Dr. Thomas gave weekly talks to teachers on physical education, hygiene, and other topics covered in the physical education classes. When Thomas resigned the following year, she was succeeded by physical education teacher Mary P. Evans.

In 1896, Thomas was living in Washington D.C., where she represented the Lucy Thurman W.C.T.U. (Women’s Christian Temperance Union” during a convention of the National Federation of Colored Women and the National League of Colored Women. Other convention attendees included Margaret Murray Washington (president of the Federation) and Ida B. Wells.

From at least 1905 through 1915, she was serving in the Women’s Relief Corps. In 1911, Thomas also was serving as treasurer for O.P. Morton Women’s Relief Corps WRC), No. 1. Thomas represented the Potomac at the National Convention for the WRC in 1915, where she was the convention’s official physician.

But let’s talk about her house. As noted above, it belonged to her father Jefferson before her. By the 1910 census Jefferson Thomas had died, leaving the house to his widow, Carrie’s mother, Mary E. Thomas. But when we go to the 1920 census, Jefferson is long dead, Mary E. has died, and Carrie lived alone, the owner of 1629 NJ Ave NW.

Looking at the Recorder of Deeds records, the original Thomas family did not use the property to borrow money. The earliest record is from 1944 when the property is sold by Dr. Thomas’ niece, Marietta Kirby Yetman to a Ms. Eleanor Byrd, who then sold it to Clifford L. Brooks. In Dr. Carrie H. Thomas’ will (probate date 8/20/1930) she left the property to Yetman, who resided in Plainfield, New Jersey. It appears she never married. Dr. Thomas died in 1930 and is buried in Suitland, MD. In Dr. Carrie H. Thomas’ will she left the property to Yetman, who resided in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Carrie G. Walker revisited- 146 R St NW

We’ve looked at Carrie Walker before, so we’ll look again. That earlier post was for Property Owners of Truxton Circle, where I look at property owners, regardless of race. Also that previous post went over the loans and the 1950 sale to Lawrence C. and Rosa A. Diggs.

This post will focus on the genealogy of Carrie G. Walker.

Carrie G. Walker was the daughter of John W. Walker and Carrie Johnson, born January 1879. Both Carries have also been Caroline. John worked as a government messenger. In 1900 they lived at 216 R St NW, John was still a messenger and daughter Carrie G. was a public school substitute teacher. In 1910 their address changed to 146 R St NW, where John was still a messenger at the age of 58 and Carrie G., was a clerk in a government office. In 1940 when Carrie was 59, she too was a messenger for the Federal government. She died, according to an Ancestry family tree, April 3, 1950.

But if she died in 1950, how could she sell her home in 1951? I took a look at the deed, and something is a little suspect.I looked at the other documents that would have had her signature, but those just have her name typed out. She was a substitute teacher and a government clerk, she should have been literate enough to sign her name.

I needed to double check her death date as the family tree did not point to any evidence. After poking around the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site, I found her death notice in the April 5, 1950 Evening Star:

April 5, 1950 Death Notice

She was very much dead when she supposedly sold 146 R St NW. It seems she wasn’t living there, as she died at 1304 Franklin St NE, near or in Woodridge. It doesn’t matter. That lot no longer exists.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Oscar Barnes- 308 Q St NW

We’ve got another Basiliko property. But before it falls into the hands of the Basilikos, it belonged to African American huckster, Oscar Barnes.

photo of property

What is a huckster? It is a person who sells small things. They could be a door to door salesman, a peddler, or someone with a small stall/store. And such was Oscar.

In the 1920 census he lived at 308 Q St NW with his wife Florence, a waitress. There was another separate household of renters at 308, the Perrys and their two female lodgers. According to Zillow, the house is 1,690 square feet, so it could have been two units. Two very small units.

Oscar George Barnes was born June 20, 1884 in Colwell, NC.  When he was 31 years old he married 19 year old Florence Pannell in 1915. As far as I can tell, they had no children.

Now looking at him via the census mixed with the land records from the Recorder of Deeds, they don’t stay at 308 Q St. NW. In the 1930 census, Oscar and Florence were living at 1630 5th St NW in Shaw. They owned that property until well after Florence’s death when her family members had to deal with it. For some reason, they moved next door to 1632 5th St NW, to live as renters for the 1940 census. It must have been temporary, because by the time the World War II draft rolled around in 1942, they were back at 1630 5th St NW.

But let’s get back to 308 Q St NW. In 1928 the Barnes were advanced 13 shares of the Oriental Building Association, No. 6, worth $2,600. It looks like there was a total debt of $5,000, but I’m not sure. Later that year, they paid off a 1919 debt. In 1939, they paid off the 1928 debt.

Then on May 18, 1944 they sold the property to Nick and Helen Basiliko, George Basiliko‘s brother and sister-in-law. A few months later, the Basilikos sell the property to Leslie S. Wideman and his wife Mildred. In 1947 he sold it to John Basiliko, George and Nick’s 24 year old brother. Two months later John sold it to Debbruedell M. Branham, who then borrowed from George Basiliko and John Swaggart, trustees in 1947 and paid off the debt in 1952.

Something seems, not right. Too many Basilikos.

1640 4th St NW- Blocked from Google Street View

So here’s a little break from Black Home Owners.

I noticed on Google Streetview this property on my old block is blocked. It’s just a blur. But here is what you’re missing.

1640 4th St NW

photo of property

Back when it was yellow.

It is probably blocked because the builders are throwing on a pop up and a bit of a pop back.

1640 4th St NW Construction

So when it is done. I wonder if it will be a fugly thing, of which there is a 50/50 chance. Or would it be an interesting addition.

The Darth Vader house, 1649 New Jersey Ave NW, is, interesting.

That little part that juts out at the front… that’s allowed now?

And yes, some of you are saying, ‘well that’s what you get for not being in an historic district.’ Remind me, Bloomingdale is a historic district and there are some monstrosities popping up and back on Quincy. And around the corner from Quincy on North Capitol, what’s all that going on? Also when the Wardman Flats (Sq. 519 4th, Florida Av, 3rd and R Sts) became historic the residents were not too thrilled about that.

Anyway,  we’ll see. Which reminds me, people of Bates St., you have a history, and I’m going to write about it once I’m done with the Black Home Owners of the 1920 census. Do your pop ups, pop backs, and vinyl window replacing now before I provide the world with enough evidence for a historic anything application.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Lillian Sorrell- 206 R St NW-Dead End

Looking at the 1920 census there were two African American households at 206 R St NW. One was the Lorenzo McClane family, the other was widow Lillian Sorrell and her two minor sons. In the census Mrs. Sorrell is listed as the owner. However, when I check the Recorder of Deeds, she is not listed. Instead the owner was Ellen Fanny Burden, who died in 1929.

Ellen F. Burden was an English born single woman who owned several lots on Sq. 551 with her sister Edith Burden Hastings.

Anywho, this was a dead end.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: John P Davis- 1623 4th St NW

I return to the street where I lived, 4th St in Truxton Circle and this tale opens the door to talking about getting old. The next name of an African American home owner the 1920 census gives us, is John P. Davis.

photo of property

Sadly, I could not find a lot of information about Mr. Davis. He’s in the 1910 and 1920 census, living on 4th St, but that’s pretty much it. Hunting about in the Evening Star, he held several positions in the Knights Templar, an organization (freemasons?), and was involved with other mens’ funerals. He seemed to be part of the Sir Knights of Gethsemane, subgroup of the Knights Templar. John P. Davis died December 8, 1926. He left behind Mary (nee Pierce). His funeral was at Galbraith AME church.

The land records tell the story of the state getting involved with Mary. Below is the first document on the Recorder of Deeds site for this property. The records on the site start around 1921, this document is from 1949, long after the death of John.

Public Notice of Indebitnes… by Mm Inshaw

This is the second time in this series I have seen the state step in and involve themselves regarding a widow’s property. It is the first time I have come across this kind of notice from the Board of Public Welfare.

So the above was the 1st record. So that hints that the Davis owned their property free and clear (no mortgage) and didn’t use the property to borrow money.

So the first document was from October 1949. Two months later, this was followed by an “Agreement.” In the Agreement Rachel Parker agreed to take on the care of Mary Davis for the house. Part of the agreement was that Mrs. Parker would move into the house with her husband and their 2 children. The is immediately followed with a deed transferring the property to Mrs. Parker. None of the paperwork reveals the relationship between Rachel Parker and Mary Davis.

The next year in May 1950 Davis and Parker agreed to borrow $4,500 from the People’s Life Insurance Company. Then they borrow $1,500 from an individual, in July 1950. Then another $1,100 in October 1950. This was followed by $600 in March 1951.

With all this borrowing, the bill comes due. So in July of 1951, Rachel Parker sold the property to Harry Moerman who immediately transferred the house to John Bolds. The property returned to Moerman in 1956 with a trustee’s deed.


1957 Church Survey: Galbraith AME Church

In 1957 there was as survey of churches in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which included Shaw, Downtown, and the Union Station area. One of the churches was Galbraith AME Church, now Galbraith AME Zion Church. To learn more about the 1957 Church Survey read my previous posts, The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey and Church Survey Northwest Urban Renewal Area October 1957.

CS 21 Galbraith AME by Mm Inshaw

 The church sits at 1114 6th St NW. Is it in Shaw? Is it in Mt. Vernon Square? Sure, yes.

Anyway, this was a Black church with a large white collar membership who did not live in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area.

Rando Truxton & Shaw History- Alleys

I’m going to make this a quick one. Here is part of a pathfinder survey from 1936 of alleys in DC. I picked out some Shaw related alleys. It says were the alleys are, as in which city square they are located, how many alley dwellings there were and how many of those were occupied by people. The point was to kick people out of their alley homes.

DC Alleys ShawAlleys1936 by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Source: National Archives and Records Admin. Washington, DC. Record Group 302, entry 3, maybe file Pathfinder Survey (1936).