1930 Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Gregory E. Woods- 132 Florida Ave NW- cul de sac

This is one of those situations where the person on the census says they are the owner but they aren’t THE owner. In this post, we’ll look at the actual owner and her relationship with the owner listed in the 1930 census.

According to the 1930 census Gregory E. Woods, a 26 year old African American postal worker, lived at 132 Florida Avenue NW (Square 551, lot 168) with his sister Elyse and several lodgers. He was listed as an owner. When I looked at the 1933 General Assessment, the Woods listed as an owner was Julia A. Woods.

I took a quick peek at the 1940 census. Gregory was still at 132 FL Ave NW, but listed as a renter. A little older, at 37, and married to a woman named Elizabeth. They had two daughters and a handful of lodgers. No one there was named Julia.

Then over to the Recorder of Deeds’ online documents, which would tell me if Julia A. Woods was a relative. Nope. She borrowed and repaid money alone. No one else was named. When a deed popped up in 1951, Julia Woods wasn’t named. It wasn’t clear what happened. Civil Action case #3299-50 is cited, but that could be anything.

Because Julia and Gregory have the same last name, I believe they are related. A Julia and a Gregory Woods share the same household in 1920 at 336 U (You) Street NW. She was the 46 year old wife of Rev. William D. Woods, then 51 years old, and mother of several children, of which Gregory was one.

Julia Ann Johnson Woods Hairston

Julia A. Woods, was born Julia Ann Johnson, daughter of Maltilda and Edward Johnson in the 1870s in Virginia. She married William D. Woods December 27, 1899 in Bedford, VA. They had three daughters and two sons. March 31, 1920 Rev. Woods died at his home at 336 U St NW. His funeral was at Florida Avenue Baptist Church. Julia married again November 3, 1927 to Edward Monroe Hairston, they divorced December 13, 1947 in Roanoke, VA.

In the 1940 census Mrs. Hairston lived in New York City with her daughter Elise/Elyse White, and 2 year old grandson Charles R. White. She was also listed as living with Ed Hairston in Roanoke, VA in the same 1940 census with his adult children and mother in law.

Did she ever live at 132 Florida Avenue NW? Yes, as we will see later. According to the Evening Star, she died there. According to the June 7, 1950 Evening Star, Julia Woods died at the age of 83 on FL Ave. Widower Edward Hairston died in 1954, and Julia was listed as his last spouse.

Gregory Edward Woods

Gregory Edward Woods was born July 28, 1902 (1903) to Julia Ann Johnson and William Woods Sr. in Roanoke, VA. He grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) Roanoke. He was the second son and child. He went to school and at some point he went to college.

In the 1923 DC city directory his address was 132 Florida Ave NW and his occupation was a student. Looking at that same directory, his mother Julia is also listed as a resident at 132 FL Ave as a widow. According to the public family tree on Ancestry (must be logged into AncestryLibrary) he graduated from Howard University with a B.S. in 1927.

Coming back to the 1930 census, Gregory E. Woods is still at 132 FL Ave. NW.  His mother Julia has assumed to have returned to Roanoke with her new husband. He lived there with his 21 year old sister Elise, who was unemployed. By 1940 Elyse/Elise got married, moved to NYC and got work as a social worker. They also had three families of lodgers living with them. According to the family tree, Gregory married Elizabeth Ann Lomax on August 28, 1931. However, the family tree is wrong about the death of Rev. Woods, so the quality of the information is questionable.

In the 1940 census there was an Elizabeth A. Woods as Gregory’s wife at 134 Florida Ave NW. She was about 11 years his junior and was a housewife. They had two daughters, Clarissa and Shirley Ann. The home was still a rooming house, with the Browns, Turners and the Bradeys and a single woman named Mary A. Price.

Since the 1950 census has been recently released, let’s look there to see what was going on with the family. The residents of 132 Florida Ave NW were Gregory, Elizabeth, 18 year old Clarisse, 16 year-old Shirley A., and “70 year-old” Julia A. Woods. They still rented to roomers, James and Anna Brown workers in the laundry business and a 78 year old widow, Lizzie McClure. Elizabeth was no longer a SAHM, but was a government worker, working as a card puncher for the Department of Agriculture.

We know from the records, the family lost 132 Florida Ave NW after Julia’s death. It’s unclear why the family didn’t hold on to the property, as both the parents were employed with stable federal jobs. One of the daughters was old enough to get an adult job. In July 1982, Gregory E. Woods died. He is buried with Elizabeth, who died in 1984, at the Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood, MD.

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