Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: James H. Wheeler- 408 R St NW

James H. Wheeler was another African American property/ home owner who lived in the unassuming neighborhood of Truxton Circle, before it was called Truxton Circle. He and his wife Mary E. Wheeler purchased 408 R St NW on November 2, 1926 from Ethel E. Rutty.

James H. Wheeler was born James Newman to Ross Newman and Georgiana Woodland Newman on October 25, 1876 in Maryland. His mother remarried John Wheeler and had seven or more children. At some point around the 1880s James took on his step-father’s surname. James married Mary Ellen Smith (maybe in 1901 in NJ). From the 1910 census on he worked as a laborer for the US Government (GPO). James and Mary (aka Mayme) had two children, Chauncey Alexander Wheeler born in 1903 and Hertha Eunice Wheeler born in 1906.

In 1930 Hertha married Olmstead Henri Perry, then a soldier in the Army. The newlyweds lived with James and Mary/Mayme.

The land records confuse me. In document #205, the deed from November 1926, there is a stated debt between the Wheelers and Rutty of $3000. The next document #206, is a trust (loan) with trustees Saul & Benson for $2,500 at 6.5%. Did the Wheelers deposit $500 of their own money? I don’t know because there were two releases for the debts in 1936, so the total debt could have been $5,500 for the house?

Anyway in 1936 the Wheelers appear to refinance their mortgage with $2000 from the Perpetual Building Association. Then refinanced again with Perpetual in 1940 and 1941. James died on July 25, 1944. In 1953 Mayme borrowed $1,900 from Consolidated Engineering and Distributing Co. This leaves me to guess this was work on the house.

Mayme died on June 17, 1959. Her heirs were the widow Hertha Eunice Wheeler Perry and Edith E. Wheeler (2nd wife of Chauncy A. Wheeler) sold the house to Jacob and Sadie B. Feldman in 1960.

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