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

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.

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

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Olinian Hollaway- 1611 New Jersey Ave NW

photo of property

I found an earlier post when the house was up for sale in 2005. Also this property was at one time owned by the Broadus family until they lost it in 1927.

January 1948, Olinian A Hollaway purchased 1611 New Jersey Avenue NW from Percy and wife, Valentine Waddill. Mr. Hollaway took on a $4,500 debt with trustees at 6% interest, and paid it off in September 1964 when he and his wife, Natalie, sold the house to Collier & Vogel Inc.

Usually for every trust/ mortgage there is a release noting the end of the debt. Sometimes when I don’t locate the corresponding release or trust, it is usually something that got lost with fat fingers or bad OCR. I had a release for the Hollaways and did not see an obvious trust. After they sold in July 1964, there were two releases. The first, from September 17, 1964 paid off a 1948 $5,000 trust between the Waddills and the Perpetual Building Association. Olinian’s name doesn’t show up anywhere in the original document. However, the document was part of the January 1948 sale.

Since Olinian is such an unusual name, it was fairly easy to look up his history. When we first find Olinian in the 1950 census on New Jersey Ave NW, he is a clerk working for the city post office. His wife Natalie was a stay at home mom caring for their, then 9 year old, daughter Janice. They lived with two older men, roomers.

Olinian Arthur Hollaway (sometimes spelled Holloway) was born September 6, 1907 in New York City. He served in the New York National Guard, 369th Infantry, off & on between 1928-1930, as a musician. According to his service card he was a deserter, twice.

Olinian married Natalie Clementine Cooke in June in 1939. Very soon their daughter Janice was born in 1940. The family lived at 2025 4th St NW in the mid-1940s. In the 1940 census they lived at 2715 Georgia Ave NW. Janice was not listed.

After selling 1611 NJ Ave NW they bought 413 Jefferson Street NE.

Olinian died in 1985. Natalie was a widow for a very long time until she too passed on May 10, 2010. Despite being dead the house on Jefferson Street is still in both parties names and paying taxes. Since their daughter would be the logical real owner,  and she was born pre-WW2,  I’m not going to get my undies in a bunch about the senior citizen homestead exemption the Hollaways have.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Bessie Broadus- 1607 NJ Ave NW- cul de sac

I should be pretty much done with the Broadus family. But Bessie Broadus was listed as the head of household in 1950, so let me tie up this loose end.

I already went over most of the Broadus family history with the ownership of 1607 NJ Ave NW being in the Broadus family for about 100 years. Just a reminder, Wallace Broadus’ ownership can be traced back to 1919. He may have owned it before then. Then Arvid and his siblings owned the property.

Bessie Broadus was Wallace’s sister. As far as I can tell her name did not appear on the property. But she was a member of the family that owned 1607 New Jersey Ave NW, so close enough.

Bessie Broadus was born around 1899 to Berry and Louise Broadus. She worked at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. And she never married.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Arvid Broadus- 1607 New Jersey Ave NW

We’ve seen the Broadus family on this blog before. The earliest was in 2010 after Arvid Broadus had died and the rear of the house, 1607 New Jersey Avenue NW, appeared to be on its way to falling down into the alley.  There’s also a Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle for Wallace J. Broadas post from 2021. It appears I didn’t focus on the DC Recorder of Deeds. They borrowed so much I could not cover it here in a decent narrative fashion. So I will just put it in a table below.

Wallace J. and wife, Madge V. Broadas appear in the earliest online land records in 1922. Records hint that they owned the property as far back as 1919 and the family appear in the 1920 census. Madge died in 1922. Then Wallace was married to Alberta, then after 1928 she no longer appeared on property documents. Wife Hattie B. shows up once in 1951 and is never mentioned again.

In 1966 Arvid, son of Wallace, and his siblings became the owners of 1607 New Jersey Avenue. Then the ownership gets whittled down to Arvid and sister Evelyn Broadus Shears in the 1980s. There are a slew of wrongful housing documents, where DCRA is the other party, spanning from 2010 to 2014. The house was sold to Cameron St LLC in 2013 for $185,000.  I noticed the house was in poor condition, threatening to fall into the alley and exposed, in April 2010. All those wrongful housing documents started up in June 2010.

The table of the whole drama of real estate documents will be under the fold. It took 2-3 weeks to research this, looking at every stinking document, and I just want to be done with this house.

Anwho. Arvid or Arvide Wallace Broadus was born in 1919. He served in World War II as a private. In 1943 he married Mary Louise Jackson and in 1950, in Florida, they divorced. In 1944, they had a son, who grew up to be the Rev. Tyrone Livingston Broadus. Tyrone was born in Washington, DC so they may have lived at 1607 NJ Ave NW. Tyrone seems to have floated between DC and Florida. In 1967 Tyrone Broadus was one of the 13 honor guards chosen to escort the Kennedy family and President Lyndon B. Johnson to the consecration of the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame grave site. In the 1950s Arvid was a Pentagon security messenger. Arvid died in 2009.

Continue reading Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Arvid Broadus- 1607 New Jersey Ave NW

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Daisie Mae McLean- 1636 4th St NW

photo of property

In 1945 William M. McLean, an African American carpenter and his wife, a domestic purchased 1636 4th St NW.  When the 1950 census rolled around the McLeans had separated. The census showed Daisy Rose McLean (Daisie Mae in the census) as the head of the household living with her daughter Lenora (also separated), Daisy’s grandchildren, her son James and daughter in law Evelyn.

In 1940 the McLean family lived at 219 D St SW. William, the carpenter, was the head of the family. He lived with wife Daisy, daughter Lenara/Lenora and their son James.

When the McLeans bought 1636 4th St NW they bought it from Teck Construction which sold a few homes on the 1600 block of 4th St around the mid 1940s. As part of the sale, they took out two loans, both from trustees Michael P. Cook and Ralph D. Quinter totaling $3750 at 6%. The smaller loan of $950 was cleared in 1949. The larger debt is harder to figure out.

In 1955 there were a couple of deeds. It appears the goal was to remove William’s name from the title and just have Daisy’s name. But after her death, around or before June 1970 it appears he didn’t lose interest and it is hard to tell if William and Daisy divorced. William is listed as a widower in the paperwork.

From 1970 to 1985 had several deeds and an Appointment Substitute Trustee. With the substitute trustee document it appears the 1945 $2800 loan was addressed, but I can’t tell. During this William the husband, James McLean Sr and Jr and Johnny McLean sign over their interest in the property to Leonora C. Wiggins (nee McLean). There was a will, and Leonora was the executor, and I was under the impression the 1955 deeds made Daisy the sole owner. Anywho, Leonora sold the property in 1985.