Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Bessie and Matthew Woods- 517 3rd St SE

This blog has been exploring Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle. As a way to see if what was going on for Black mortgagees was normal, or not, I am comparing them with white home owners.  I am looking at blocks that were over 90% white in 1950 but also in the same “red lined” zone, which was F1.

This post is looking at the Woods’ ownership of 517 Third St SE. According to Redfin, it is currently a 3 bdrm, 3.5 bath 2,295 square foot home. There were several sets of resident home owners, but going with the records of the Recorder of Deeds, starting around 1920, we encounter Bessie and Matthew Woods.

photo of property

The first document that appears on the database is document #192608090147, an August 1926 trust, between Bessie and Matthew Woods and trustees George M. Emmerich and Raymond J. Vierbuchen with the American Building Association for $4,200. The next month in September 1926 the Woods paid off a loan with trustees Harry E. Gladman and Alfred H. Lawson. The 1926 loan was cleared in 1943.

In 1939 there were a series a deeds. Documents 1939037405 and 1939037406 transferred the property from Matthew and Bessie Woods to Bessie Woods and Clarence A. Garber, via Edward J. Berdaus. In 1943 the property was transferred to George A. Brennan and there was a note that Bessie’s name changed to Bessie O’Donnell. The next document, #1943027651, transferred the property from Brennan to Clarence A. and his wife Beulah M. Garber. We’ll look at the Garbers in a different post.

The Woods show up in the 1930 census at 517 Third Street SE. Matthew was the 43 year old head who worked as a machinist for the US Government. He lived with his 51 year old wife Bessie and  two roomers, David and Catherine Boyer. On August 1, 1939, Matthew died. That explains the deeds transferring the property that year.

Laura Bessie May Maffett, was born April 2, 1879 in Cameron, VA to Peter F. Maffett and Ellen Virginia Davis. She was married three times, no children, Matthew Woods was her second husband. She married Edward O’Donnell around 1942. She died May 1961 in Capital Hill.

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