Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- John Fitzpatrick- 501 3rd St SE

I haven’t done this in a while.

So just to get an idea to see if what I am seeing with the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle is 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.

photo of property

The story starts in 1924 when John and his wife Mae Fitzpatrick purchased 501 3rd St SE from John J. and May Shaughnessy. As part of the purchased the Fitzpatricks borrowed the equivalent of $5000 from the American Building Association.  They also borrowed $2,000 from trustees Charles H. Kindle and Guy M.  Neely at 6% interest. The $2,000 loan was paid off in 1927. In 1931 the Fitzpatricks borrowed a small amount of money ($184.00) and paid it off in 1933. The Fitzpatricks were free and clear of their 1924 American Building Assoc. loan in 1946. They sold their home in 1952.

So who was John Fitzpatrick? He was at the same address for the 1930-1950 censuses, so I can find the right John Fitzpatrick out of all the other John Fitzpatricks. Let’s start in 1922 when John Fitzpatrick married Irish born Mae/May Quade/Quaid at St. Peter’s Church.  Two years later the newlyweds purchased 501 3rd St SE.

On the 1930 census New York born Irish-American John was a 48 year old US government auditor. He lived with his wife Mae, and their children John, Helen and William. The next census, 1940, John (58 y.o) was a government “general clerk” and Mae was Mary. The last census, 1950, two of the, then adult, children lived with John and Mary, John D. and William L. John Daniel Fitzpatrick married a Ms. Evelyn Elaine White in April of 1951. They moved out and went to live at 2115 Suitland Terrace SE.

Because John Fitzpatrick is such a common name, my research ends here.

Comparing the white Fitzpatricks with the Black Truxton Circle home owners, only one TC person also had an American Building loan. William Bowman of 20A N St NW refinanced with the American Building Association.

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.


Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Levi & Francis Wellons- 517 3rd St SE

Normally this blog looks at African American home owners in the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle series.  But for comparisons’ sake we’ll look at white home owners during the same period, in the same mortgage “redlined” zone F1.

Earlier we looked at Bessie and Matthew Woods who owned 517 Third St SE up until 1943. Then followed the Garbers, and after them, now the Wellons.

photo of property

In may 1949 Levi and Francis Wellons bought 517 3rd St SE. They used a loan from the Metropolis Building Association for about $7,000 and a $5000 loan from trustees William H. Boaze and Bernard Kretsinger. And then they sold it in 1956 to Charles Walker and Walker’s wife and mother. No excitement here, they bought a house, got 2 loans and seven years later, sold it. The end.

Levi Thomas Wellons Jr, was born May 20, 1915 in Southampton, VA to Levi Wellons Sr and Sallie Mary Rose. In 1936 he married Frances Winter and they had several children. In 1940 Levi, Frances, their children Rose and Levi III, lived around the corner at 214 South Carolina Ave SE with his in-laws. In the 1950 census, it appears the house is in 3 units and the Leeds family is in Apt 1. The Wellons were still on S. Carolina Ave SE with a new son, William.

Hum, it appears I’ve made an assumption. I’ve assumed that the Wellons were resident owners. They were, sort of, and I don’t feel like hunting down proof that they lived in the house. They lived on the block. Close enough.

The Wellons had ownership, part or full, of the following lots on Sq. 0765: 21, 22, 75, 77, 801 and 802. A quick look at the land records and it appears they unloaded most of their property on this block in 1959.

They eventually moved to Maryland. I don’t know what happened to Mrs. Wellons but Levi remarried. He died in 2007 in Deale, MD.

Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Clarence Garber- 517 3rd St SE

Normally this blog looks at African American home owners in the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle series. 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.

Earlier we looked at Bessie and Matthew Woods who owned 517 Third St SE up until 1943. There was a period when Clarence Garber owned 517 3rd St SE Bessie, after the death of Matthew from 1939-1943.

The co-ownership seemed a little unusual and I tried to find a connection between between Laura Bessie Mae Moffatt-Davis-Woods-O’Donnell (thrice married) and Clarence Anthony Garber or his wife Buelah Mae Armentrout Garber. The connections were scant. Bessie was from Loudon County VA, the Garbers from Stauton, VA. They do not appear to be related. Nor were they neighbors during the 1920 nor the 1930 census.

photo of property

Clarence A. Garber came to own the house in 1939. Let’s recap what happened from the Woods’ post:

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.

Upon the removal of Bessie’s name from the property and Clarence and Beulah Garber being the sole owners, they got a loan. The day they both became owners, October 28, 1943, they borrowed $3500 from the Washington Loan and Trust Company. Their ownership ended when they sold the property to Levi Thomas Wellons Jr and his wife Frances on May 6, 1949.

The Garbers show up in the 1940 census. In 1940 Clarence was a 31 year old carpenter living with his wife Beulah, a stay at home mom to their 2 sons, Robert and Fred. They also had two lodgers, Catherine Uhrig and Bessie M Woods, not yet O’Donnell. Bessie was part owner of the house in 1940. The house is large enough to be 2 units with an English basement below.

The Garbers had family in the neighborhood. Clarence’s father, Anthony Garber (also a carpenter) lived over at 122 5th St SE. During the 1930 census, the newlyweds Clarence and Beulah lived there with newborn Robert, along with sisters Ruth & Pauline.

After selling 517 to the Wellons, who will be covered in another post, the Garbers bought 3025 24th St NE a few days later on May 10, 1949. They owned it until 1956. Clarence died in 1988 in Huntingtown, MD. Beulah died in 2000 and is buried in Prince George’s County Maryland.

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.

Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- James McCracken- 219 E St SE

photo of property

So just to get an idea to see if what I am seeing with the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle is 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. I should explore that more. There is a lot I should do.


So over in Capital Hill we’re going to look at James McCracken who according to the 1930 census was the head of household and owner of 219 E St SE. He worked as a steam engineer. Well according to the paperwork, his wife Barbara was the owner. His name didn’t get on the property until 1944.

James Joseph McCracken was born July 1st, 1880 in Washington, DC. His parents might have been James and Mary McCracken of Ireland. “Appears” because a James McCracken appears twice in the 1900 census. Once with his parents and siblings on Maryland Ave SW working as a government clerk and again on the USCG Steamer Blake in Puerto Rico. Same birth date, birth place, same parental linage, and same address (for ships they list home address).

In 1916 he married Barbara E. Morgal, a dry goods clerk. They were in their 30s, she was a little older. It appears they had no children.

When the first World War draft came around in 1917-1918 he was living at 219 E St with his wife. The online records from the DC Recorder of Deeds starts around 1920, and so the first record is release for a loan Barbara McCracken took on in November 1919 from trustees Frank Johnson and J. Walter Stephenson.

In 1930 Barbara took on another loan, which she alone signed, on a document that acknowledged she was a married woman, with trustees Frank Johnson and William Church Jr. for the Mutual Building Association. The loan appears to have been for $1,500 (maybe $20,000 max).

In a June 1930 release for a loan with the Mutual Serial Building Association (idk if it was the same building assoc. but Frank Johnson is the trustee) they note Barbara McCracken was a married woman contracting as a separate estate.

The 1933 release for the 1930 loan is….interesting. Normally I just look to see which loan it is for, maybe an institutions name, but something caught my eye.

So….. if she sold the house to someone like me*, there would be a $2,000 lien on the property. Being that it was 1933, I chucked that number into the Inflation Calculator and that’s $45,662.77 in today’s money.  This forced me to look back at the 1930 loan doc and there it was buried on the 2nd page (a page I ignore). I currently live in a house that had a similar covenant or legalism attached to it. I’m the 1st Black person to own it. Okay back to Babs McCracken.

In 1944 Barbara does this thing that I’ve seen several of my Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle do when they want to get someone’s name on the property. She transferred it into the name of someone, this someone being Etta H. Groff, who in the next document transfers it to Barbara and James McCracken.

And then nothing happens for 20 years.

James McCracken sold 219 E Street SE on August 4, 1964 to J. Harry Brogden. The deed notes that Barbara died on June 10, 1963. James died several years later in 1969.

*I may be pale because I haven’t seen the sun since 1995, but I am 100% African American.

Comparative White DC Home Owner- Georgetown- Charles P. Reckert- 3214 Volta Place NW

Although the African American home owners of Truxton Circle are my focus, I am looking at a few other blocks in Washington, DC to compare them to. So I looked at the census for blocks in the city that were in the F1 or red lined category, but happened to be 90%-100% white. I included Georgetown, and this is the story of one household.

photo of 3214 Volta Pl circa 2004

According to the 1930 Census Charles P. Reckert was the owner of 3214 Volta Place. He lived there with his wife Valeria Irene Warner Reckert, and their children, Charles Peter Jr., May Callista, William F. and Eileen Reckert. By the 1940 census the Reckerts had 3 more children Joseph W., Virginia M. (later Lapp), and Robert W. No surprise, they were a Catholic family and parishioners of Holy Trinity Church.

Mr. Reckert was a multi-type machinist working for the Government Printing Office. He had been employed with the GPO since he was a messenger boy in 1911 then moved up to the role of machinist before 1920 after serving in the first World War.

According to the land records the Charles and Valeria purchased 3214 Volta in April 1929 from Eudora B. Johnson. In December 1931 they took out a loan with the Oriental Building Association. It looks sort of like a HELOC where there was a range, and the range appeared to be $1,800-$4,000. They closed the loan ten years later in 1941.

Then something curious happens. When I’ve seen this sort of thing with the TC homeowners it happens on the same day and is a way to change the name of who is on the property. Usually to remove the name of a spouse or add or transfer it to a family member. November 1945 the Reckarts sell/transfer the property to Minnie May Wanner. I attempted to find any connection with Minnie May with either Charles or Valeria. As far I as could find, Mrs. Wanner was a Baltimore widow and Charles’ family lived in Charm City at some time in the 1920s. A few months later, in March of 1946, Wanner sells/transfers the property to Valeria and in her name only.

I’m not entirely sure why this was done. They did not divorce and Charles was no where near death. I’m guessing taxes.

Valeria took out two loans. In her name only. The first was in 1946 ($3,000-$20,000) and the second in 1950 ($7,500 ) with the Washington Loan and Trust Company. It appears the second loan paid off the first and the second loan was completed in 1969.

By the 1950 census the Reckerts had moved a few blocks over to 3130 Dumbarton Ave NW. That census revealed they had another son, David. World War I records show that the Dumbarton Ave home was previously home to Charles’ father Charles G. Reckert, a Baltimore grocer.

Charles and Valeria died in 1972. Their many heirs, being their children and their children’s spouses, sold the property in 1973.

Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Frieda Humpries- 215 E Street SE

I’m going to try something new. For a few years I have been looking at the African American home owners of Truxton Circle. As a part of it, I look at land records and then I get confused. I wonder if the borrowing activities are unique to Black home owners. So I am looking at DC white home owners from another part of DC that isn’t a “suburb” like Adams-Morgan.

According to the 1950 census German immigrant Frieda (nee Bohraus) Humphries lived at 215 E Street SE. She worked at a hospital for a number of years as a seamstress and as an office clerk. Looking at the land records she owned 215 E St SE prior to 1923. She took out very few loans. Because a release (cancelling/payment of loan) in 1923 we are aware of a few loans Frieda and then husband George Milton Humphries made in 1913 and 1915. However, according to the 1920 census they were renting 2310 Pennsylvania Ave NW.

George was a carpenter turned auto mechanic. They married in 1905, a month after she arrived in Baltimore from Europe. At some point prior to 1930 the marriage failed. She was listed as a widow in the 1930 and 1950 census but George didn’t die until the 1970s. They had two children, Carl W. and Cara/Cora Humphries.

During the years at 215 E St SE, as head of the household Frieda housed relatives and lodgers. In 1930 she lived with her children, son-in-law James Bristow, sister in law Myrtle Humphries, and two roomers Sidney S. Ball and Erma Brewer. In 1940 it was just her daughter, sister-in-law and a lodger William M. Hobbs.

For the 1950 census the home appears to be 3 units. Frieda, her daughter and new son-in-law Malcolm N. Walters, a house painter, lived in the first unit. Reginald and Gertrude Burns from West Virginia lived in the second unit. Divorced Pentagon telephone operator Alice C. Jennings, her son William F. and her brother George Myers, a mechanic, lived in the 3rd unit.

Mrs. Humphries took out a loan in her name of $2,500 at 6% interest from the Permanent Building Association in 1925. That loan was settled in 1943. The next document came in 1960 when she sold the property to Sharon and Thomas Lias. Frieda was 79 years old at the time of the sale.

Scoping a comparison block- Black v White

I have an idea. I would like to compare the land records I have been seeing in my series of Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle with that of white home owners. I would start with the 1930 census because that is when redlining starts. Also the DC Recorder of Deeds online records start around 1921, and I like having a buffer.

The Truxton Circle block will be Square 509E. Why? Because I used to live there. Also It’s not as big as Squares 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 615, 616, or 617. The small and more manageable blocks are 519, 550, 553W (maybe), 554W, and 618.

So what’s the deal with Square 509E? In the 1940 Census it was 100% Black, had 67 occupied units, and 10% was owner occupied. In the 1950 census, still all Black, 69 units were occupied and the home ownership rate was up to 28%.

The 1950 Census the last and most recent open census, and that is where I’ll stop. Also after 1950 DC experienced white flight, particularly a loss of its white working class and poor. As of this time, the District does not have any white working class neighborhoods.

So I started looking for a 90-100% white comparison block. I was looking for something in Old City. I wanted something with an older housing stock, with row houses/ townhomes. To make it easier on me, no big blocks. I wanted to avoid blocks with large apartment buildings, so that eliminated most of Dupont Circle. Many Logan Circle blocks got kicked out of the running because many blocks did not remain 90%+ white by 1950. I really wanted to keep Shaw blocks finding 90%+ white blocks.

So here are my possible candidates:

Square 980N (Census tract 84, ED 720)- This NE block along Florida Ave in 1950 was 95% white, and 45% owner occupied with only 20 occupied units.

Square 984 (Census tract 81, ED761?)- This block is at E and 11st Sts NE was 90% white, 33% owner occupied with 62 occupied units.

Square 966 (Census tract 81, ED 767)- This Lincoln Park block was 100% white, 23% owner occupied with 40 units.

Square 765 (Census tract 65, ED374)- This Capitol Hill block was 96% white, 32% owner occupied with 54 units.

Square 1255 (Census tract 2, ED564)- This Georgetown block along Wisconsin Ave NW was 98% white, 31% owner occupied with 64 units.

So 980N got eliminated first because I couldn’t find the square on the Library of Congress map site. It seemed to have gotten left off and I need the real estate maps because lot numbers change.

Square 1255 in Georgetown is going to be set aside because the occupations I am seeing appear to be very upper middle class. The Truxton Circle block is more working class and I don’t want to compare it to a block that is more managerial and richer.

Squares 984, 966, and 765 are great contenders because they have several working class residents. There is the odd doctor on the block. Fair enough, 509E had a Dr.

Next, collect the info.