From my last post, I mentioned I would look at a property that was transfer from the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) to three men, who then sold it to a person marking the exit of WSIC from Truxton Circle in the 1950s.
45 Bates St NW is on square 615 in Truxton Circle. During the time of WSIC’s ownership it sat on lot 134. Currently it is now lot 292.
I don’t have the exact date when WSIC came to posses 45 Bates and other homes on the block. In 1903 parties (George Sternberg and George Kober) involved with the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) owned many lots on Sq. 615. So fast forward to June 1950 and the property is transferred from WSIC to the Washington Loan & Trust Company, then from the Washington Loan and Trust Co. to business partners Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans. The business partners borrowed $3 million dollars for Investors Diversified Services Inc. of Minnesota.
First Taube, Levin and Evans sell 45 Bates St NW to William W. Johnson and his wife Kathleen S. Johnson on January 26, 1951. But then there is a deed of the Taube, Evans and Levin selling lot 292 to George M. and Olivia V. Davis February 5, 1951. Later documents don’t seem to clear up the ownership. In 2001 DC Water and Sewer sent a water sewer lien to a Johnson and Davis. Loan documents appear to say the Davis and Johnsons both had a 1/2 interest in the property. Oh brother.
Since Johnson is a common name I was able to find some information about the Davis’. In the 1940 census there was a George M. Davis married to an Olivia V. (nee Birdsong) Davis living on the 2000 block of Flagler NW. They were listed as white. He was a painter, she was a maid in 1940. They lived with their 4 year old daughter his 87 year old widowed mother-in-law.
Funny thing. Looking at their marriage record from 1924, the couple was ‘colored’, not-white. In the 1930 census, the couple living in Stonewall, VA with George McKinley Davis’ father, is listed as being Black. Then in the 1950 census an Olivia V. Davis is the head of the household, living with her husband George Davis, the painter, at 2261 12th St NW. In 1950, they are Black. I would say the 1940 census was a fluke if it weren’t for other documents stating that George was white.
Who knows? Race could be considered a social construct, based on real phenotypes.Maybe they could pass. Or maybe there are a couple of George M.s married to Olivia V.s out there to confuse the matter.