1920 to 1930- White to Black- 1731 New Jersey Avenue

1700 Block NJ Ave NW, 1930. Brown= AfAm residents; White= No data

In this series of looking at the odd numbered side of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW from 1920 to 1930, I decided to look at the other end of the block. The change from 1920 to 1930 for most of the block was from white renters to black home owners. My post The sell off of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW pretty much explains the why.

The Renters
George & Ida Macintosh. Credit: Christy Rosario via Ancestry

In the 1920 census the 1731 NJ Ave NW was occupied by George MacIntosh and his family. George Williamson MacIntosh was a DC born White 37 year old ice cream truck driver. He lived there with wife, Mary Ida (nee Taylor) and their four of their eventual 12 children.

George was born July 15, 1882 to Ida Virginia (nee True) and Charles Richard MacIntosh in DC. In 1900 he was a 17 year old living with his mother Ida at 3101 K St  NW and a boarder.

I could not locate George’s location for 1910. So I looked for Ida. I found Ida in 1910 under another name. Ida Posey, who’d been married for 9 years but living with her parents at 1053 31st St NW with her 6 year old son and 1 year old daughter Agnes. Her father’s name looked familiar and I swore I’d seen James F. Taylor before. Then I looked at who else was in the house, 20 year old John Miller. There was a John Miller living next door in 1920 at 1733 NJ Ave, who also drove an ice cream truck. Were they some how related? Dunno. Not going down that rabbit hole.

The Owner

1731 NJ Ave NW (Sq. 507, lot 25) sold to Salvadora E. Smith by M. Harvey Chiswell  September 10, 1920. She used a loan from Chiswell’s brother W. Wallace Chiswell and developer Harry A. Kite, which Smith paid off in May 2023. July 2023 Ms. Smith took out a $2,300 loan from the Washington Loan and Trust Company. It appears she refinanced in 1931, talking out at $2,500 loan, then again in 1932 for $1000, and again in 1941 for $2,500 with Washington Loan and Trust. The home was sold after her death by her will’s administrator James P. Donovan.

So who was Salvadora Elizabeth Smith? According to the 1900 census she was an African American public school teacher who was born around 1863. She grew up at 440 Massachusetts Ave NW, in downtown DC. With the exception of their father, USCT Civil War veteran Moses Smith Sr, everyone was identified as ‘mullato’ in the household. Her father worked as a printer at the Government Printing Office and her mother was a homemaker. She attended Howard University, graduating from the Normal School in 1883 (PDF).

Looking up her background, it appears she purchased 1731 as a rental or investment property. In the 1930 census she was not there, instead there were renters. Nor was she on NJ Ave in 1940. When the Evening Star announced her death in May of 1942 it said she died at her residence at 460 Massachusetts Ave NW.

She is not getting the “Black Homeowners of TC” tag as I cannot prove she lived at 1731 New Jersey Avenue.

WSIC-1950s Sell Off- George Basiliko

This is a book I never finished and I think I might have thrown out in my move from DC to Maryland, Family Properties: How the Struggle Over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America. It had a lot of information and told a story of unfairness in white real estate investors selling properties in a former Jewish neighborhood to African Americans. The unfairness was that the buyers had really bad contracts, the houses were in poor shape and the buyers were set up to fail.

Until I started looking at the great sell off of Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) with 43-45 Bates Street NW, I thought such a thing was a corrupt Chicago thing. Nope. It happened here.

Prior to looking at this I’d been doing my Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series and most things looked like they were on the up and up. Even prior to the records I found in the Recorder of Deeds on-line site, starting in the 1920s, I was aware of Black families in Truxton Circle who owned their homes, if not several other properties. They borrowed from financial institutions, such as the Perpetual Building Association and passes down or sold their homes in the natural course of living. Sometimes there was the odd foreclosure.

But this. This looked like a scam to me.

They sold half. HALF. Of the property to a buyer, whom I will assume was African American because in the 1950s, Truxton Circle was overwhelmingly Black. They all used the same lenders, Levin and Weightman. Then in a few years the property would go into foreclosure and would get sold to a man the Washington Post called a slum lord, George Basiliko. If the Black buyer managed to avoid foreclosure, for some reason they would eventually sell their half to George Basiliko.

June 22, 1959 George and Sophia Basiliko purchased a package of properties from a party of interests associated with the original three business men who purchased almost all the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company rentals. This is captured in documents #1959019387, 1959019395, 1959019388, 1959019389. And more in an August 5, 1959 document # 1959024641. These accounted for about 122 properties. And there were more packaged properties.

I’m not going to go into detail in this post as there are a lot of properties in documents 1959019387 to 1959019389, 1959019395 and 1959024641. If you read this blog, all three of you, there are many individual properties where all or half of it fall into Basiliko’s hands.

Then a load of federal money, laundered through the District of Columbia government, flooded into Basiliko’s pockets in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As seen in several posts, the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA) purchased poorly maintained Truxton Circle properties from Basiliko. In 1969 for a US House Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Home Financing Practices and Procedures an article about Basiliko was submitted. Basiliko came up a lot in the hearing.

The RLA, which got its funding from the US government (remember Home Rule doesn’t come until 1973), bought out Basiliko. It can be argued that he was able to off load the properties for far more than what they were worth. The DC government in the form of the RLA was a more generous buyer than any private investor buyer.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 25 Bates St NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) built a number of homes in the Truxton Circle neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th century. WSIC sold off a number of their rentals, with the idea of selling to African Americans.

Around 1950, WSIC sold off their inventory to Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. In an Evening Star article regarding the end of WSIC, the new owners expressed their intention to sell the rentals to Black home buyers.

This sounds decent until you get into the details. I noticed there was a pattern. They would sell half (these were 2 flat structures) to two different families. One or both households would lose their half of the house to foreclosure. And or the property (half or whole) would wind up in the hands of a man who the Washington Post called a slum lord, George Basiliko. Sometimes, an owner who avoided foreclosure or selling to Basiliko, would have to sell to the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Some fortunate souls managed to avoid all of that.

photo of property

Let’s see what happened with 25 Bates St NW:

  • 2/14/1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sell one-half of 25 Bates St NW to Lonnie J. and Margie R. Bridges.
  • 2/14/1951 the Bridges borrow $1,900 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • 2/14/1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sell the other half of 25 Bates St NW to Lloyd S. and Phoebe M. Lyles.
  • 2/14/1951 the Lyles borrow $3,800 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • 8/08/1952 the Lyles sold their half to Elizabeth and John A. Walker.
  • 8/8/1952 the Walkers borrow $2,666 at 6% interest from trustees Vivian C Kent and Rudolph A. Taylor.
  • 6/17/1958 the Lyles are foreclosed upon and ownership returns to Evans, Taube and new partner Harry A. Badt.
  • 7/3/1958 The Badts (Harry & wife) transfer their interest in this and other properties to Nathan Levin’s family (wife Rose, children Lawrence, Myron Levin and Ruth Wagman) .
  • 3/30/1959 the Bridges lose their half to foreclosure and property ownership return to Evans, Taube, and Badt.
  • 6/22/1959 The Badts, Evans, Taubes, and Wagmans sell this and other properties in a large package to Sophia and George Basiliko.

I cannot find the deed transferring the property from Basiliko to the DC RLA, but in 1980 the RLA had ownership. Basiliko had to sell a lot of his rentals to the District of Columbia in the late 1970s because of poor management.

WSIC-1950s Sell Off- 230 Q Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

Looking at WSIC properties they tend to have a pattern where the properties were sold to a three business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. Those partners sold to African American buyers. There was usually a foreclosure. Then the property wound up in the hands of George Basiliko and or the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Then there was the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

photo of property

So let’s see the pattern in action for 230 Q St NW:

  • 1/18/1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sell One-Half of 230 Q St NW to Emma C. and Edward N. Holmes.
  • 1/18/1951 the Holmes borrow $3,625 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • 2/14/1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sell other One-Half of 230 Q St NW to  June R. and Norman M. Morgan.
  • 2/14/1951 the Morgans borrow $3,625 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • 8/13/1954 the Morgans lost their half to foreclosure and the property returned to Evans, Levin and Taube.
  • June 1959 (recorded in August) Evans, new partner Harry A. Badt, their wives (for legal reasons), and relatives of Levin sell the remaining half as part of a large package to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • 3/8/1976 George Basiliko’s company sells the other half interest to the Holmes.

So the Holmes were the lucky ones.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 30 Bates Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company built a number of homes in the Truxton Circle neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th century. WSIC sold off a number of their rentals, with the idea of selling to African Americans. On it’s face the idea seems wonderful, but a deeper look reveals something less than wonderful.

In previous sales on the unit block of Bates Street there was a pattern. Most of the properties were 2 unit rentals, when they were sold, the buyer only got one-half interest or half of the house. So someone would buy 1/2 of the house, borrow money from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman, then in a year or so, lose their ownership in foreclosure.

photo of propertyLet’s see if 30 Bates Street NW fits that pattern:

  • WSIC rentals are sold off in one big lot to business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans for $3 million dollars in June of 1950.
  • Jan. 26, 1951 Taube, Levin and Evans sell 1/2 of 30 Bates St NW to John R. and Fannie S. Dunston.
  • Jan. 26, 1951 the Dunstons borrow $1,900 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • Feb. 14, 1951 Taube, Levin and Evans sell the other 1/2 of 30 Bates St NW to William H. and Ruth E. Carter.
  • Feb. 14, 1951the Carters borrow $1,900 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • Sep. 18, 1953 the Carters lose their 1/2 to foreclosure and the property returns to Taube, Levin and Evans.
  • Jan. 26, 1954 Taube, Levin and Evans sell 1/2 of 30 Bates St NW to Barney R. and Marguerite Nelson.
  • Jan. 26, 1954 the Nelsons borrow $2,897.34 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • Mar. 2, 1962 the Dunstons are released from their debt from Levin and Weightman and own their half free and clear.
  • Nov. 30, 1967 the Nelsons are released from their debt from Levin and Weightman.
  • Jan. 13, 1972 the Nelsons and the Dunstons sell their property to the DC Redevelopment Land Agency.

For a moment I was feeling hopeful. The Dunstons and the Carters managed to avoid foreclosure, pay off their debt and 30 Bates was not sold to George Basiliko. I’m not sure what the deal was with the sale to RLA.

The Nelsons were a Black couple. According to the 1950 census. Barney was a 38 year old labor and his 39 year old wife worked as a domestic for a private family. They both hailed from South Carolina.

Also in the 1950 census Fannie and John Dunston were living at 1736 13th Ave NW as lodgers. They were both African Americans from North Carolina. He was a 26 year old messenger working for the Federal government, she was 25 years old working in a hospital kitchen.

WSIC-1950s Sell Off- 41 Bates Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

I have looked at 43 Bates St NW and now 41 Bates Street NW and have noticed a pattern so far. The pattern is this, the two flat structure is sold as a group of other Truxton Circle and other DC WSIC properties to three business partners. Those business partners, with a particular lender, would sell 1/2 of a house to buyers. Within a year or so that half was foreclosed upon. If the buyers didn’t face foreclosure they sold the properties back to the surviving original businessmen and their family who then sold the property to George Basiliko, who the Washington Post called a slum lord.

So let’s see the pattern in action:

  • WSIC indirectly transfers the property to (lot 136) Nathan Levin, James B. Evans, and Nathaniel J. Taube in 6/16/1950 in large package
  • Levin, Evans, and Taube sell 1/2 of the property to James W. Morgan 1/26/1951
  • 1/26/1951 Morgan borrows $5,050 from the only trustees I’ve seen in these purchases, Abraham Levin and Robert G. Weightman
  • 12/17/1953 Morgan loses the property via foreclosure
  • Property returns to Levin, Evans and Taube…. normally it goes to the trustees who lent the money
  • 2/9/1954 Levin, Evans & Taube sell half interest of property to Hattie Mae Davis
  • 2/9/1954 Davis borrows $3,037.29 from Levin & Weightman
  • 5/5/1954 Levin, Evans & Taube sell the other half interest to Cornwallis and Vora M. Mitchell
  • 5/5/1954 the Mitchells borrow $2,986.78 from Levin & Weightman
  • Davis loses her half of the property 8/24/1955 to foreclosure
  • No document, but one will assume the foreclosed property returned to the family & business interests of Levin, Evans & Taube
  • 8/5/1959 the family & business interests of Levin, Evans & Taube (Badt, Evans, Taube, Levin and Wagman) sell package of properties to real estate man George Basiliko and his wife
  • 1/8/1965 Mitchell sells the remaining half to Basiliko

Since Cornwallis Mitchell is a unique name I bothered looking him up. In the 1950 census he was a North Carolina born African American man living in an apartment in Shaw with his wife Vera and daughter Alise.  In the 1930s and 1940s he lived at 441 N St NW, Apt 25 with wife Deborah (remarried?). He died in 1958.

WSIC-1950s Sell Off- 43 Bates Street NW

At the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th a company began with the idea of buying and building sanitary affordable homes in Washington, DC. That company was the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) and their experiment in charitable capitalism came to an end in the early 1950s. This blog will attempt to look at the Truxton Circle area properties sold off from WSIC to regular people.

Attempt. The 45 Bates St NW post had some confusion and lo, this one isn’t any better. Once again it appears they sell the one property to two different people and goodness gracious, I am confused. But let’s try to sort this out.

https://tile.loc.gov/image-services/iiif/service:gmd:gmd385m:g3851m:g3851bm:gct00135a:ca000042/5943,1454,793,955/397,/0/default.jpgSo like 45 Bates Street the Truxton Circle (and other parts of DC) lots owned by WSIC are sold off in one big lot to three men, business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans for $3 million dollars in June of 1950.

They sold a one-half (1/2) interest in 43 Bates Street to Mrs. & Mr. Elizabeth and Neal Nelson on January 26, 1951. The Nelson’s borrowed $2,525.

photo of propertyThat same day the business partners sold the other 1/2 interest to Mrs. Irene Brown, Mr. James E. Rogers and his wife Perlina Rodgers. The three also borrowed $2,525 from the same trustees as the Nelsons, Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman. However their ownership didn’t last very long and they went into foreclosure in September 1952.

Hickman and Bernice Leathers replaced the Rogers and Brown, buying 1/2 interest in the property in October 1952. The borrowed $3,173.94 from trustees Levin & Weightman. Their ownership only lasted until March 1954, with another foreclosure.

I’m just going to note. Something doesn’t feel right about this. Something feels, predatory.  Okay, back to the land records….

In April 1954, Levin, Taube, and Evans sell the one-half interest to three ladies, Leotta Francis, Isabell and Rosalie Forde. They borrow $3,186.77 from trustees Levin & Weightman. In January of 1958, the ladies sell the property back to Nathaniel J. Taube and James B. Evans and new partner, Harry A. Badt.

With two foreclosures with the other half of 43 Bates, I wondered how long the Nelsons lasted. They lasted until March 1958, with a foreclosure.

And then it gets more confusing.

In an August 1958 deed, Harry A. Badt and his wife Jennie sell off several parts of properties, of which one-half interest of 43 Bates NW is one. They sold 1/2 of 34 Bates St NW, 1/2 of 55 Bates St NW, half of 43 Bates St NW, half of 34 O St NW, half of 1216 Carrollsburg PL SW and 1/4 interest in 1235 Simms PL NE to four people. Of the set, Rose Levin got 3/9th interest, Lawrence L. Levin got 2/9th interest, Myron S. Levin also got 2/9th interest, as wells as Ruth Wagman with 2/9th interest.

In 1959 George Basiliko, whom the Washington Post referred to as a “slum lord”, bought a slew of Bates Street and other Truxton Circle properties from the heirs of and remaining living owners of the original 3 businessmen. There were a lot of people and a number of properties, but in short, 43 Bates was one of the properties in this batch. George and wife Sophia Basiliko borrowed $73,500 for the group of properties from Telsyndicate where James B. Evans and Nathaniel Taube were the trustees. This document was followed a few months later by an agreement binding the Basilikos, Evans and Taube and Telsyndicate, noting the Basilikos secured funding from the Perpetual Building Association.

George Basiliko, owned the property until the late 1970s? I can’t find a deed transferring the property but the next owner appears to be DC’s Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). And there was that whole scandal in the 1970s forcing Basiliko to sell off his Truxton Circle properties.

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.

https://tile.loc.gov/image-services/iiif/service:gmd:gmd385m:g3851m:g3851bm:gct00135a:ca000042/5943,1454,793,955/397,/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.

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.

1930 Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Gregory E. Woods- 132 Florida Ave NW- cul de sac

This is one of those situations where the person on the census says they are the owner but they aren’t THE owner. In this post, we’ll look at the actual owner and her relationship with the owner listed in the 1930 census.

According to the 1930 census Gregory E. Woods, a 26 year old African American postal worker, lived at 132 Florida Avenue NW (Square 551, lot 168) with his sister Elyse and several lodgers. He was listed as an owner. When I looked at the 1933 General Assessment, the Woods listed as an owner was Julia A. Woods.

I took a quick peek at the 1940 census. Gregory was still at 132 FL Ave NW, but listed as a renter. A little older, at 37, and married to a woman named Elizabeth. They had two daughters and a handful of lodgers. No one there was named Julia.

Then over to the Recorder of Deeds’ online documents, which would tell me if Julia A. Woods was a relative. Nope. She borrowed and repaid money alone. No one else was named. When a deed popped up in 1951, Julia Woods wasn’t named. It wasn’t clear what happened. Civil Action case #3299-50 is cited, but that could be anything.

Because Julia and Gregory have the same last name, I believe they are related. A Julia and a Gregory Woods share the same household in 1920 at 336 U (You) Street NW. She was the 46 year old wife of Rev. William D. Woods, then 51 years old, and mother of several children, of which Gregory was one.

Julia Ann Johnson Woods Hairston

Julia A. Woods, was born Julia Ann Johnson, daughter of Maltilda and Edward Johnson in the 1870s in Virginia. She married William D. Woods December 27, 1899 in Bedford, VA. They had three daughters and two sons. March 31, 1920 Rev. Woods died at his home at 336 U St NW. His funeral was at Florida Avenue Baptist Church. Julia married again November 3, 1927 to Edward Monroe Hairston, they divorced December 13, 1947 in Roanoke, VA.

In the 1940 census Mrs. Hairston lived in New York City with her daughter Elise/Elyse White, and 2 year old grandson Charles R. White. She was also listed as living with Ed Hairston in Roanoke, VA in the same 1940 census with his adult children and mother in law.

Did she ever live at 132 Florida Avenue NW? Yes, as we will see later. According to the Evening Star, she died there. According to the June 7, 1950 Evening Star, Julia Woods died at the age of 83 on FL Ave. Widower Edward Hairston died in 1954, and Julia was listed as his last spouse.

Gregory Edward Woods

Gregory Edward Woods was born July 28, 1902 (1903) to Julia Ann Johnson and William Woods Sr. in Roanoke, VA. He grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) Roanoke. He was the second son and child. He went to school and at some point he went to college.

In the 1923 DC city directory his address was 132 Florida Ave NW and his occupation was a student. Looking at that same directory, his mother Julia is also listed as a resident at 132 FL Ave as a widow. According to the public family tree on Ancestry (must be logged into AncestryLibrary) he graduated from Howard University with a B.S. in 1927.

Coming back to the 1930 census, Gregory E. Woods is still at 132 FL Ave. NW.  His mother Julia has assumed to have returned to Roanoke with her new husband. He lived there with his 21 year old sister Elise, who was unemployed. By 1940 Elyse/Elise got married, moved to NYC and got work as a social worker. They also had three families of lodgers living with them. According to the family tree, Gregory married Elizabeth Ann Lomax on August 28, 1931. However, the family tree is wrong about the death of Rev. Woods, so the quality of the information is questionable.

In the 1940 census there was an Elizabeth A. Woods as Gregory’s wife at 134 Florida Ave NW. She was about 11 years his junior and was a housewife. They had two daughters, Clarissa and Shirley Ann. The home was still a rooming house, with the Browns, Turners and the Bradeys and a single woman named Mary A. Price.

Since the 1950 census has been recently released, let’s look there to see what was going on with the family. The residents of 132 Florida Ave NW were Gregory, Elizabeth, 18 year old Clarisse, 16 year-old Shirley A., and “70 year-old” Julia A. Woods. They still rented to roomers, James and Anna Brown workers in the laundry business and a 78 year old widow, Lizzie McClure. Elizabeth was no longer a SAHM, but was a government worker, working as a card puncher for the Department of Agriculture.

We know from the records, the family lost 132 Florida Ave NW after Julia’s death. It’s unclear why the family didn’t hold on to the property, as both the parents were employed with stable federal jobs. One of the daughters was old enough to get an adult job. In July 1982, Gregory E. Woods died. He is buried with Elizabeth, who died in 1984, at the Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood, MD.