WSIC- 1900 Resident Owners of Sq. 552-Sophia Hess

In earlier posts I was looking at the block the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company did not own, that it would later own. I wanted to look at the owners of Sq. 552 prior to WSIC ownership to see what the story was there.

There weren’t too many resident owners on Sq. 552 (bounded by 3rd, Q, 1st and P Sts NW). I thought I had more, but that was an error on my end.

The 1902/1903 General Assessment, is not always correct (dead owners), nor does it provide the minute (my NOOT) info that is as enlightening as the Recorder of Deeds records. There were two (according to the 1900 census):

145 P St NW–  Sophia Hess, a 65 year old single woman of German heritage. Owned 0552 lot 7.
120 Q St NW– George Adams, a 40 year old African American laborer. Owned 0552 lot 26-west 20.

So who was Sophia Hess? She was born in Washington, DC in December 1835 and her mother was Mary Elizabeth Gebhardt Hess (d. 1869) whose name the property was in. Looking at Mary Hess’ will, she left the property to her children Sophia, William and Catharine. sigh. That’s probably why it was still in Mary’s name. Sophia never married.

In 1880 she lived at 145 P St NW with her adult siblings. William Hess was her older brother and listed as being a boarder. He was a German born 62 year old and noted as being a maimed and illiterate laborer. Frederick was listed as her brother. He was a 45 year old carpenter. Lastly, her sister Catharine was a 39 year old housekeeper. Sophia was a 48 year old clerk for the Government Printing Office. All were single.

In the 1900 census, Sophia was still working at the GPO, still at 145 P St NW, and living with siblings. William was not in the picture, but Frederick the carpenter, then 60 years old, and sister Catherine remained with her.

Sometime between 1903 and 1909 the property became part of the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company’s portfolio. In 1906 according to the city directory she was at 145 P St NW. By the 1910 census, she had moved to 1611 Lincoln Ave NE. She lived there with her sister Catherine and a grand-nephew Karl H. Townsend. At the age of 70 she was still working at the GPO, as a folder. Her grand nephew was 19 years old and worked as a clerk for the Department of Agriculture.

She was still in Eckington during the 1920 census at 1611 Lincoln Ave NE. There she lived with a nephew, a niece and two grand-nieces. And at the age of 83, she still worked at the Government Printing Office.

In 1925 she died at 1611 North Capitol St NE (could be Lincoln Ave NE?) from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 91. She is buried at Glenwood Cemetery. She never married.

I’ll get George Adams in another post.