WSIC-1950s sell off- 45 Bates Street NW

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.,1454,793,955/397,/0/default.jpg45 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.

photo of property

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.

WSIC-1950s sell off

I’m not sure where I’m going with this but I am looking at the end of the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC). The end meaning when the company, or what the company turned into, exited from the history of Truxton Circle and sold off it’s properties.

I became aware of the sell off in a 1952 article in the February 13th Evening Star and a bunch of newspaper searches where their Truxton Circle properties were auctioned off in the early to mid-1950s. I shared one document in my post WSIC-1950 Big Old Property Transfer, where WSIC transferred their property to the Washington Loan and Trust Company. What I didn’t do is look at the next document (#1950024327) from the same day on June 16, 1950 transferred it from the Washington Loan and Trust Company to three fellows, Nathan Levin, James B. Evans, and Nathaniel J. Taube.

That same February 13, 1952 article mentions Levin, Evans and Taube (Tauber) buying some 850 properties from WSIC. In my next post I’ll look at one TC property sold to a regular person.


Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Bennie & Edna Evans- 1602 4th St NW

Bennie L. and his wife Edna Evans owned 1602 4th St NW for a short period, from 1944 to 1950. They were there long enough to appear in the 1950 census living on 4th St. So this will be short.

photo of property

The Evans purchased the property May 4, 1944 from Nick and Helen Basiliko, the brother and sister-in-law of George Basiliko. The Basilikos show up frequently in the real property records. As a part of the purchase they were able to borrow $1,950 at 6% interest from trustees Herman Miller and J. Vernon Thomas. Six years later, they sold it on July 20, 1950 to Louis and Rena L. Rosenthal.

They were there in such short time it is hard to locate good information about who the Evans were. In the 1950 census, Bennie worked as a janitor for the railroad. Edna appears to have been a stay at home mom to their children Bessie Mae (16 years old) and Arvin (10 y.o.).

They had 2 roomers. Here I will note 1602 4th St NW has a basement unit with it’s own exterior entrance. I should also note their names are William and Lucille Robinson. There is a strong possibility that these may have been relatives. There is a record of Bennie Evans marrying Etta Robinson in Kershaw, SC in February 1934.

Bennie Leslie Evans was born September 28, 1904 in Camden, SC. At some point he moved over to 207 Randolph Pl NE. He retired with a Railroad pension and he died March 26, 1988.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Frank Freeman- 1643 New Jersey Ave NW


photo of propertyThe problem with Frank Freeman is that the earliest record is from 1939. The other problem is he’s one of those owners who seemed to use their house like an ATM.

When I went to look at the Recorder of Deeds records, there was nothing prior to 1939 for lot 806. Looking at the 1933-34 General Assessment, the Murrays next door at 1645 NJ Ave NW, owned the property, which then was a vacant lot. The Kelsey Associates’ Historic Survey of Shaw East, which includes the odd side of New Jersey Ave NW, does not list 1643 NJ Av NW. There is a note in the July 24, 1954 Evening Star about owner Frank Freeman at 1643 New Jersey Av NW having a building built at 1210 Irving St NE. So there was something there.

Despite owning the property since 1939, if not before, he does not appear in the 1940 census. He shows up at 1643 NJ Av on his World War II draft card dated in April 1942 living in Apartment 2. 1643 New Jersey Ave NW is a multi-unit building, now they are condos.

Anyway, let’s get into the Recorder of Deeds records. Frank Freeman had about 13 loans between 1939 and 1972. Most of those loans were through the Perpetual Building Association, and various other individual trustees. Below I have listed the loans he took out. Continue reading Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Frank Freeman- 1643 New Jersey Ave NW

WSIC-1950 Big Old Property Transfer

Around 1950 the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, which owned several large blocks of property in Truxton Circle and parcels in other parts of Washington DC, sold off their holdings. The experiment of charitable capitalism had come to an end after half a century.

There are a whole lot of properties in this document. So I’m just going to leave this here and may expand on it later. As part of this WSIC series.

Washington Loan and WSIC-1950024326 by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Sidney Dyson- 1645 New Jersey Ave NW

When we last left 1645 New Jersey Ave NW it was owned by Dr. Peter Murray and his wife Charlotte. They lost the house in 1932 to foreclosure. But on the upside, by relocating to New York City Dr. Murray’s career skyrocketed. As they say, if you can make it there….

So by a decade or so later, in April 1946 Charles, Sidney and Thomas Dyson became the new owners of 1645 NJ Av NW, buying it from the Washington Housing Corporation. By the 1950 census only Sidney Charles Dyson shows up as the sole resident of the house. It’s a short story so lets look into that.

When the three men purchased the property it appears they took out a loan with the institution that sold the property to them for $13,250 at 6% interest. In 1951 Charles Sidney Dyson sold his interest in the property to Sidney Dyson, his father. I’ll get into the family tree later. Right now I’m doing the land records. In 1954 there was another loan, $1,088.39 at 6% interest, from the Washington Housing Corporation where the three Dyson men all signed for it. Then it appears they defaulted on the debt from 1946 and in 1955 there was a trustees deed and the Washington Housing Corporation reclaimed the property.

Despite losing the house it appears it was still Sidney A. Dyson’s home after the foreclosure. 1645 New Jersey was listed as his home address when he died December 19, 1958.

The Dyson Family

Sidney Artis/Artic Dyson was born in Charles County, Maryland on October 4, 1883 to Sydney T. Dyson and Sophia Gillum. In the 1900 census he was one of nine children living in Nanjemoy, MD and working as a 16 year old laborer. In the 1910 census he was living in Piscataway, MD in PG county working in a saw mill with his wife Ella (nee Bowman) Dyson. They had three young sons, two of them were Charles Sidney and (Thomas) Roland.

On May 29, 1915, he was  supposedly a widow and married Ms. Cenie/ Cenia Thomas. I couldn’t locate the family in the 1920 census.

In the 1930 he was a roomer living at 1848 5th St NW working as a taxi driver. He was married but not living with his wife.

He didn’t live with his wife as captured by the 1940 census. But he was living with his son Charles at 1645 New Jersey, as renters. They shared the property with the Edwards family. He was still a cab driver. His other son, Thomas R. Dyson was also working as a cab driver during the 1940 census. Thomas was living at 320 Maryland Ave SW with his wife Katherine, their son and a cousin.  Earlier, in 1936 when he married (Katherine?) Lucille M. Robinson, he was living at 1511 Marion St (NW?), working as a truck driver. As far as I can tell, Thomas did not live on New Jersey Ave.

In Sidney A. Dyson’s obituary it read that he was the father of Mrs. Rhodis Owens, Mrs. Annitia Blair, Charles A. and Thomas R. Dyson. So two daughters I did not find in the record. He had a sister, Mrs. Sophie Green and a surviving brother George A. Dyson.

Memory Lane: Richardson Place, 2005

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

1700 Blk Richardson Place NW, Dec 2005

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from  2005.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Maggie Taylor Strother- 404 R St NW

photo of property

It appears that Ms. Maggie Taylor bought 404 R St NW from Ethyl M. Rutty on November 3, 1926 for $3000. She borrowed $2,600 at 6% interest from trustees William P. Benson and Francis B. Saul.

Then there is a document from 1950 and I’m not sure what it is. It is labeled an ‘Agreement’ and an ‘Extension Agreement’ on the form. It appears that four promissory notes, totaling $1,650, a debt from Ethyl M. Rutty to Earl D. Thompson was extended by Maggie Taylor Strother. I looked and it appears to be a debt from 1926. This was settled in February 1954. And now I can’t tell if Taylor took on 2 debts or one to purchase the property.

Maggie Taylor Strother borrowed $1,290 in October 1952 from trustees David I. and Marge Abse. The next year she cleared her 1926 debt. In December 1953 she borrowed $2,800 from the Perpetual Building Association. February 1954 she settled the Abse debt.

Then there is another, concerning document, a ‘notice’ between Strother and the DC Department of Public Welfare from 1957. The document has her shaky signature. In 1958 there is a trustees deed, which means it went into foreclosure for the Perpetual Building Assoc. debt. Maybe the DC government’s involvement was an effort to save her from being removed from her home?

Unfortunately, Maggie Taylor was a common name and there were too many Maggie Taylors around to figure out which one was she. But I did find one little nugget. Maggie Taylor married William Strother in January 26, 1943. She was 58, he was 57. He died January 16, 1947 at his home, 404 R St NW.

Also she doesn’t show up in the 1930 census. Despite owning 404 R St NW since 1926, she didn’t seem to live there. In 1930 Dorothy Waters rented the house as the head, along with two lodgers from North Carolina. In the 1938 city directory and the 1940 census a Charles Long is listed as the occupant of 404 R NW. In the 1938 city directory, there are scores of Margret Taylors, one Maggie. That Maggie worked as a maid living at 1226 Congress Alley.

Afternote: I tried finding more information about Maggie Strother and searched by address. Didn’t find much. I did find that a Charles Hayden, 21 yrs and Claudette Williams, both of 404 R, filed for a marriage license in Fall of 1947.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: James R. Broaddus- 410 R St NW

A different Broaddus, spelled differently than the New Jersey Avenue Broadus, just one ‘d’.

photo of property

James Richard Broaddus was born November 28, 1884 in Monticello, Georgia to Marry V. Broaddus. During the draft for the first World War, he worked as a brick mason in Atlanta, Georgia. By the 1920 census he relocated to Washington, DC working as a clerk for the government. He lived as a lodger with Miner & Sallie Williams at 2248 13th St.

I don’t know when James married Mamie Traverse, daughter of Rev. Matthew W. Traverse and Mary E. Hall, step-daughter of Nettie. But they married and apparently had no children.

In December 1922 he bought 410 R St NW from Gertrude E. Holmes (she owned a whole lot of property around town) and borrowed $1,725 from trustees Henry J. Brown and Wriley J. Jacobs at 7% interest. Then in 1928 he borrowed $2100 from the National Savings and Trust Company at 6%. For some reason, his name is on a 1928 release of an October 1922 debt taken out by Gertrude E. Holmes. His first mortgage was settled in 1929 and the second in 1939.

James Broaddus does not show up in the 1930 census. In the 1934 city directory he is listed as Broadus (one d) living at 410 R St NW and working as a messenger at the Veterans Administration. When he filled out his draft card for World War II, at the age of 57, he listed Grady Carter as the person who would know where he’d live (next of kin). In the 1940 census he was listed as married but lived alone.

It was the 1950 census where he and Mamie are recorded as living together. The year 1950 is also the year when Mamie died. Not too long after that, James Broaddus died July 27, 1951. His surviving sister Irene B. Kenner of Cleveland, OH sold the property in 1957 to Edward Schweitzer.

One note, the lot number changed. 410 R St NW is now lot 807. It used to be lot 71.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Edward Downing- 1627 New Jersey Ave NW

1627 New Jersey Avenue NW has been reviewed before, when it was owned by another African American owner, Ernest Lomax the plumber. There was a strong connection between the Lomax and Downing families, not reviewed before.

1627_NJ-Ave_NWSo a quick recap- Ernest Lomax first appeared at 1627 NJ Ave NW in the 1919 city directory. He married a woman named Mamie and in the 1930 census her relatives, the Downings lived with them. Ernest Lomax died April 17, 1941. In 1946 the property was transferred to Mamie M. Lomax, and her male relatives, Edward H. , Elmer H. and Leon E. Downing.

Because of the connection via Mamie Downing Lomax I took another look at the land records from Lomax to Downing.

Mamie Downing was born September 1880/1879 in DC to Horace and Sophia Garnett Downing. In the 1880 census they lived at 211 L St and the census taker identified them as Black (as opposed to mulatto). In the 1900 census the family, including 13 year old brother Edward Horace Downing, lived at 172 Pierce Street NW. Their 47 year old father was a restaurant waiter, Mamie was a dressmaker and Edward was a lamplighter. In 1905 Mamie was a Federal employee working at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing as a Printers Assistant, making $1.50 a day. The 1910 census had them at 124 Pierce St NW and without Edward being there, they were perceived as mulatto. Edward was there at some point because the 1909 city directory has him there. I’ll do Edward’s bio after the fold.

In the 1913 city directory, Mamie Downing shows up at 1627 New Jersey Ave NW. So does father Horace, listed as a bartender and brother Edward, who was working for the Government Printing Office. Mamie was still working at the Bureau of Printing & Engraving. Looking back at the land records, in June 1922, Ernest Lomax, paid off a 1912 mortgage with the Washington Loan and Trust Company. Lomax purchased the house in April 1912. In 1913 the Lomaxs were living elsewhere (337 L SW & 211 G St NW).  By 1920, Mamie and Ernest are married.

In my post about Ernest Lomax, I assumed his much younger wife moved her relatives in with her. Apparently, they were there all along.

As mentioned previously, Ernest died in 1941. In 1946 there are two deeds to transfer the property into the names of Mamie and her brother Edward and his two sons, Elmer & Leon.

In the 1940 census the ‘renting’ residents of 1627 NJ Ave NW are Robert Downing (a previously unmentioned brother) who worked for the Govt. Printing Office, as head of household; his wife Ethel; Edward, also working for the GPO; Edward’s wife Virginia; and Herbert E. Lomax, the son of the late Ernest Lomax, a laborer.  I do wonder what the dynamics of that household was. In 1944, Herbert E. Lomax was living at 406 Eye St NW when he married Gertrude Mills. Herbert died 01/05/1949 at 406 I Street NW he had no children. Mamie died October 14, 1949, her funeral was held at the Nineteenth St Baptist Church.

By the 1950 census, Edward Downing is the head and after the death of his sister, Mamie, the owner of 1627 NJ Av NW. So let’s now look at Edward. Continue reading Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Edward Downing- 1627 New Jersey Ave NW