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.

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.

WSIC- 1900 Resident Owners of Sq. 552-Sophia Hess

In earlier posts I was looking at the block the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company did not own, that it would later own. I wanted to look at the owners of Sq. 552 prior to WSIC ownership to see what the story was there.

There weren’t too many resident owners on Sq. 552 (bounded by 3rd, Q, 1st and P Sts NW). I thought I had more, but that was an error on my end.

The 1902/1903 General Assessment, is not always correct (dead owners), nor does it provide the minute (my NOOT) info that is as enlightening as the Recorder of Deeds records. There were two (according to the 1900 census):

145 P St NW–  Sophia Hess, a 65 year old single woman of German heritage. Owned 0552 lot 7.
120 Q St NW– George Adams, a 40 year old African American laborer. Owned 0552 lot 26-west 20.

So who was Sophia Hess? She was born in Washington, DC in December 1835 and her mother was Mary Elizabeth Gebhardt Hess (d. 1869) whose name the property was in. Looking at Mary Hess’ will, she left the property to her children Sophia, William and Catharine. sigh. That’s probably why it was still in Mary’s name. Sophia never married.

In 1880 she lived at 145 P St NW with her adult siblings. William Hess was her older brother and listed as being a boarder. He was a German born 62 year old and noted as being a maimed and illiterate laborer. Frederick was listed as her brother. He was a 45 year old carpenter. Lastly, her sister Catharine was a 39 year old housekeeper. Sophia was a 48 year old clerk for the Government Printing Office. All were single.

In the 1900 census, Sophia was still working at the GPO, still at 145 P St NW, and living with siblings. William was not in the picture, but Frederick the carpenter, then 60 years old, and sister Catherine remained with her.

Sometime between 1903 and 1909 the property became part of the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company’s portfolio. In 1906 according to the city directory she was at 145 P St NW. By the 1910 census, she had moved to 1611 Lincoln Ave NE. She lived there with her sister Catherine and a grand-nephew Karl H. Townsend. At the age of 70 she was still working at the GPO, as a folder. Her grand nephew was 19 years old and worked as a clerk for the Department of Agriculture.

She was still in Eckington during the 1920 census at 1611 Lincoln Ave NE. There she lived with a nephew, a niece and two grand-nieces. And at the age of 83, she still worked at the Government Printing Office.

In 1925 she died at 1611 North Capitol St NE (could be Lincoln Ave NE?) from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 91. She is buried at Glenwood Cemetery. She never married.

I’ll get George Adams in another post.

1900 Resident Owner of Sq. 551-1615 3rd St NW- Frank P. Glorius

I see the name Glorius and I think, George, the florist who owned all of square 519. But this is Frank.

I still have no idea if/how he was related to George Glorius.

He was born in Germany and immigrated to America in 1882. He married another German, Frederika (Freida) Sauter in February 1887 in Washington, DC. They did a great job of not getting enumerated in most censuses. They show up in the 1900 census. In the 1910 census the occupants of 1615 3rd St NW are FP and Mary Glorius. I did not find them in the 1920-1930 census.

The land records aren’t particularly helpful, except they do give another interesting spelling of Mrs. Glorius’ name. The Recorder of Deeds online records start in 1921 and the first document for 1615 3rd St NW (0551 lot 62) was a 1928 release for the payment of a October 1894 debt. Frederica Glorius’ name was spelled Fredericka. The next two documents were from 1935, a trust and a deed. There are a ton of people named Glorius, which hint to Frank P. Glorius’ death. More about them later.

Frank and Frederica Glorius’ death was interesting. They both died on March 26, 1932. The Evening Star wrote that they died “suddenly”. Another March 27, 1932 Evening Star article revealed more. They both died in their sleep, at home, at 1615 3rd St NW, from carbon dioxide monoxide. Because of their age and the paper’s mention that hinted at a lost fortune, I’m suspecting it was an act of suicide. Here I will quote from the article:

Once Wealthy Builder and Wife Found in Home Victims of Fumes
The asphyxiation of Frank Glorius, once a wealthy builder, and his wife, Frieda, both between 75 and 80 years old. who were found dead yesterday in their gas-filled home at 1629 Third street, was being investigated last night by Acting Coroner A. Magruder MacDonald.
Meanwhile, arrangements for the funeral of the elderly couple, both of whom were in poor health, were being made by officials of the Carpenters’ Union, which had been helping them for the last three or four years.
Mr. and Mrs. Glorius were found when police, summoned by residents of the neighborhood, who had traced the odor of gas, broke open a door of their dwelling.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Glorius came here from Germany years ago. They settled at the Third street address and at one time owned virtually every house in the neighborhood.

Other articles after their death dealt with their estate handled by a Frederick F. Schnieder. The papers nor the land records say how the following were related to Frank and Frederica but they were heirs. They were: Amalia Glorius, Eleonore Glorius (wife of George Glorius), George Glorius, Heinrich Christian Glorius (aka Brother Livinius), Joseph Glorius, Juliana Glorius, Maria Glorius (wife of Joseph Glorius), Theresia Kahlmeier/Kuhlmeier, Marie Elisabeth Liszkowski, Emma Elisabeth Senge, Anna Elisabeth Theuer, Hedwig Amalie Theuer, and Heinrich Robert Theuer. None of the Sq. 519 George Glorius were married to an Eleonore. However Ignatius George Glorius (1866-1901?) was married to an Eleanore/Eleanora (1868-1935). Most of the people on this list, I did not have enough info on them to figure out their relationship with Frank P. Glorius.

Happy Accident-1900 Home Owner- 1603 3rd St NW- William Saunders 1822-1900

I honestly meant to to get resident home owners of sq. 552, for the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company. Because I had incorrect info in my own spreadsheet, which I need to clean up, I wound up researching people who were not on Sq. 552 (3rd, Q, 1st, Bates, and P St) but 551. It also means that the spreadsheet on is incorrect too.

I discovered my accident when looking at the 1902/1903 General Assessment for Sq. 552 for a William Saunders. I found William’s wife, Martha Saunders over on Sq. 551, (where Mt. Sinai, the NW Co-op and FL Ave Park sit). She had two lots. She owned, 551 009-Background, and 551 00G.


Then it dawned on me that the 1600 block was up one block.

William Saunders was a TC resident, and he has a Wikipedia page (my 3rd TC resident with a wiki) so we have a new blog post.

William Saunders lived at 1603 3rd St NW. According to the 1880 census, he lived there with his wife Martha, and his adult children George W. and Belle. By the 1900 census, it was still him and Martha, and Belle, along with four adult grandchildren with the surname Reeves.

According to his Wikipedia page he “was a botanist, nurseryman, landscape gardener, landscape designer, and horticulturist.” He was the United States’ chief experimental horticulturalist and Continue reading Happy Accident-1900 Home Owner- 1603 3rd St NW- William Saunders 1822-1900

1900 Resident Owners of Sq. 551 of 3rd St NW

So I started off writing this blog post to look for residents of Sq. 552 (the block south of the NW Co-op) for the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company. But I didn’t discover until I took a deeper look at one owner, that I had the wrong block. I have written and researched and so I’m not going to throw away that work.

I thought I had nine resident homeowners for Sq. 552. The seven 3rd Street people were incorrect. So lets look at them. The two on Sq. 552, I will deal with in the following post.

I don’t know how far I can get with researching the nine home owners, because all I have to confirm ownership is the 1902/1903 General Assessment, which is not always correct (dead owners), nor does it provide the minute info that is enlightening as the Recorder of Deeds records.

1603 3rd St NW –  William Saunders, 77 year old Scottish immigrant and horticulturist.
1603 1/2 3rd St NW– Solomon Basey, 48 year old Black widower.
1615 3rd St NW– Frank P. Glorius. Not sure if he’s related to George Glorius of Sq. 519. He was a 44 year old German cabinetmaker.
1625 3rd St NW-Albert G. Stevens, a 51 year old white carpenter.
1629A 3rd St NW– Frederic Ane (?), a 37 year old German born salesman.
1631 3rd St NW– Perry E. Medford, a 28 year old white teacher.
1633 3rd St NW– Frank D. Amrein, a 36 year old German-American salesman.

So a few will get their own posts.

WSIC- Owner of Sq. 552- Lycurgus and Sallie Adams

After writing about wealthy out of state owners with the name Eustis, I didn’t want to try to hunt down the other owners. But one owner had an unusual enough name that I figured why not. Lycurgus and Sallie Adams owned a part of lot 26 on Sq. 552. Lot 26, according to the 1902/1903 General Assessment lot 26 was in 4 parts. Lycurgus and Sallie owned a western lot. George W. Adams owned a portion of the lot with a structure on it. Levi Adams owned an eastern section. Edmund G. Hines owned a portion along the alley.


Lycurgus, also Licurits/ Lycurkus Adams was born around 1842-1844 and died in March 1922 in Prince George’s County, MD. He was an African American born to Josaiah and Elizabeth Adams in Maryland. He was drafted, but it doesn’t look like he served in the Civil War.

It appears that he was born and raised in Bladensburg, MD and he lived there and died there. He did wander into Washington, DC to get married to Sallie Nash (Mash?) in June 1887. He was a farmer, who owned his own land and lived on River Road.

His last will and testament, gives a sense of who another Adams was who also owned parts of lot 26. Levi Adams was his brother. His will directs that his DC property be sold upon his death. According to a search of the Evening Star, his executor Marion Duckett, did that the following year of his death in September in a public auction. Of a side note the farm he left his son, Joseph E. Beaman Adams of 907 Westminster St NW advertised to sell those 18 acres in October 1923.  Lycurgus’ lot was sold to William Adams at auction. It is unclear how William was related, if at all.


WSIC- Owners of Sq 552-Marie Clarice Eustis and Louise Eustis Hitchcock

In all honesty, I have zero to negative interest in these two women, so let me just get through this.

At some point in time between 1903 and 1909 the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) purchased lots from these women so they could add Sq 552 to their project. Mary Clarice Eustis owned lots 15-23, and Louis Eustis Hitchcock owned lots 9-14 and 24. I’m going to guess these were nothing more than investment properties for them.


Who was Marie Clarice Eustis? Marie Clarice Eustis Hofmann was born Marie Clarice Eustis in New Orleans in 1866, if I have the right woman. She was the daughter of Senator George Biddle Eustis and Ellen Buckner Eustis. In 1887 she married her 1st cousin (ewwww) George Peabody Eustis Corcoran, the brother of Louis Eustis Hitchcock. They divorced and in 1905 she married Polish pianist, composer, and inventor Josef Hofmann. They divorced in 1924. She eventually died in 1956 at the age of 90 in Aiken, SC.

Louise Hitchcock Image 1Her cousin Louise Marie Eustis was born in Cannes, France in 1867 to George Eustis and Louise Morris Corcoran Eustis (daughter of WW Corcoran of the famous Corcoran Gallery). She married polo player Thomas Hitchcock Jr in 1891. They both loved horses. They had four children Celestine E. Hitchcock Peabody (1892 –1935), Helen Louise Eustis Hitchcock Clark (1898–1979), Thomas Hitchcock (1900–1944) and Frank Center Eustis Hitchcock (1908–1957). She died in an accident in 1934 in Aiken, SC at the age of 66.

WSIC- Property Owner of Sq. 552- William R. Riley

When looking at the General Assessment for 1902/1903 one of the biggest property owner for the block bounded by 3rd, Q, 1st and P St NW, Sq. 552, Wm. R. Riley, not the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC). WSIC’s time will come later.

William R. Riley owned lots 1-2, 4-6, and 29-32.


Who was William Robinson Smith Riley? He was born July 19, 1817 in Appomattox County, VA and died in DC on January 15, 1893.

Larger memorial image loading...

According to his obituary published in the Evening star. January 16, 1893, page 6:

William R. Riley Dead
A Well-Known Citizen Expires After a Short Illness

In the death of Mr. Wm. R. Riley this city loses one of its substantial citizens. His death occurred yesterday at his late residence, No. 7 Iowa Circle [Now Logan Circle]. Mr. Riley had reached the advanced age of seventy-five years. He was, however, a man of active habits, and while not exactly vigorous, yet he was seldom ill. His last sickness lasted only six days. On Monday just a week ago he was taken sick in his office in the Riley building, 9th and E streets. He was removed to his residence and by Thursday pneumonia developed which resulted in his death at 1 o’clock yesterday.
He had planned to leave for Florida today where his wife was staying. Mrs. Riley was at once informed of the illness of her husband and reached home Saturday morning. Mr. Riley had spent practically all his life in this city. He came here with his father from his birthplace in Accomac, Va., when only four years of age. When quite young he entered a dry-goods’ house as a clerk, and when still a young man he became the owner of the store in which he had started in life as a clerk.
The same business ability which marked his early career enabled him to amass a considerable fortune. He was identified with a number of the substantial business enterprises of the city.
He was the founder of the Arlington Fire Insurance Company, and a director in that company at the time of his death. For a number of years he was one of the directors of the Washington Gas Light Company. He established the West End Bank and until recently was the president.
He was a member of the old city council, was connected with Columbia Lodge of Odd Fellows, and was an active member of Ascension Church.
Six children survive him, two sons and four daughters.
The funeral services will be held at the Church of the Ascension Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock, and Rev. John H. Elliot will officiate. The interment will be in the family lot in Congressional cemetery. Continue reading WSIC- Property Owner of Sq. 552- William R. Riley