Introduction

400 block 1949

[Photo credit: Historical Society of Washington, D.C.]

As I walk around our neighborhood, I often find myself wondering about the people who have lived here since the second half of the nineteenth century, and I feel intensely curious about their distant lives. On the assumption that many of my neighbors must also share this fascination with the names and personalities of certain persons long dead, I am trying to gather on this blog some miscellaneous scraps of information about the former inhabitants of A Street SE (between Third and Sixth streets) on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. The emphasis is mainly on the people who lived on this street rather than the history of the buildings, though I am compiling any material that I can about the street’s past. There will also be some occasional notes about other addresses in the neighborhood, including of course St. Mark’s Church, which is at the corner of A and Third streets.

The easiest way to find all the posts relating to a particular house is to click on one of the addresses in the dropdown menu labeled Addresses at the right. The tag cloud below it includes surnames, names of institutions, and a few broad categories like photosdeaths, and marriages. The search box at the upper right is useful for doing more miscellaneous kinds of searches. If you want to search for words or phrases in the newspaper clippings, you can do that in my Evernote public notebook, which includes the same body of material.

I am grateful to several persons who have supplied material for this blog: Gene Berry, Peter Clark, Eric Freund, Mark Kantor, and Maureen Shea. I welcome further suggestions and corrections.

—Bill Peterson (wsp@umd.edu)

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Rosa Bixler: death

Washington Evening Star, 25 April 1959, p. 6

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Marion McLean and Metropolitan Baptist Church

Washington Evening Star, 24 February 1932, p. 18

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Emily Chappelear: death

Washington Evening Star, 13 December 1940, p. 24.

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Marion McLean: death

Washington Evening Star, 9 December 1942, p. 15

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 Washington Evening Star, 9 December 1942, p. 15.

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Unfurnished rooms for rent

Washington Evening Star, 5 December 1931, p. 24.

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House for sale

Washington Evening Star, 12 February 1921, p. 17

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Rooms for rent

Washington Evening Star, 25 September 1910, p. 70.

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Ad for Frank McLean

Washington Evening Star, 22 January 1907, p. 18.

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Bed for sale

Washington Evening Star, 30 November 1889, p. 3

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507 A Street, SE: early reference

Washington Star, 6 July 1889, p. 2.

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John C. Hesse retires

Washington Post, 11 August 1920, p. 12.

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John C. Hesse: awarded Medal of Honor

Washington Post, 14 May 1905, p. F3.

[At various times Hesse lived at several adresses on A Street, SE: 503, 506, 508, and 510.]

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This document explains why and how the Medal of Honor was eventually withdrawn: Interments in the Historic Congressional Cemetery.

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Francis E. Knott: death

“Deaths.” Washington Post, 28 May 1964, p. C16.

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[He had lived earlier at 503 A Street, SE.]

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Jane T. Bland: value of estate

Washington Post, 1 September 1921, p. 18.

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[She lived at 503 A Street, SE.]

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Gaddis–Trimble marriage

Washington Evening Star, 16 June 1883, p. 8.

[She later lived at 503 A Street, SE.]

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Adam Gaddis (Jr.) and Mary Trimble Gaddis

Covell, Charles. “On Eve of Birthday: Bank Fetes Director, 100.” Washington Evening Star, 17 March 1966, p. B-7.

[The following is an excerpt from a long article about their son, Edgar T. Gaddis. Mary Trimble Gaddis lived at 505 A Street, SE, in her later years.]

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Jane T. Bland: will

Washington Evening Star, 4 August 1921, p. 10.

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Sam P. McGill: death

“Deaths.” Washington Post, 29 April 1965, p. G5.

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[McGill had lived earlier at 505 A St., SE.]

 

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Richard W. Smith: charged with vagrancy

Washington Evening Star, 4 April 1899, p. 16.

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[Smith had lived earlier at 505 A St., SE.]

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Julia Ruff: death

“Deaths.” Washington Evening Star, 25 September 1950, p. 11.

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[She had lived earlier at 505 A St., SE.]

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Julia (Ruff) Rice: death

Washington Evening Star, 31 December 1925, p. 3.

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[The Ruffs had lived earlier at 505 A St., SE.]

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Albert George Ruff: death

Washington Evening Star, 4 December 1941, p. 15.

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[Ruff had lived earlier at 505 A St., SE.]

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Albert Ruff: 1910 census

Federal census, 1910, 505 A Street, SE, Washington, D.C.

  • Albert G. Ruff, head, 48, married (once) for 20 years, b. in D.C., father b. in Md., mother b. in Va., clerk, Post Office Department, survivor of Union army.
  • Julia W. Ruff, wife, 43, married (once) for 20 years, mother of 2 children (1 living), b. in Va., father b. in Md., mother b. in Va., no occupation.
  • Julia Ruff, daughter, 16, b. in D.C., father b. in D.C., mother b. in Va.
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James M. Gordon: 1920 census

Federal census, 1920, 505 A Street, SE, Washington, D.C.

  • James M. Gordon, head, owns house (free of mortgage), 76, married, b. in Pa., parents b. in Pa., no occupation.
  • Margaret L. Gordon, wife, 72, married, immigrated 1849, naturalized citizen, b. in Scotland, parents b. in Scotland, no occupation.
  • Joan T. Leitch, sister-in-law, 62, single, b. in Md., parents b. in Scotland, no occupation.
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Marian J. McLean: 1930 census

Federal census, 1930, 507 A Street, SE, Washington, D.C.

  • Marian J. McLean, head, owns, house value $10,000, 80, widow, 24 at marriage, b. in N.Y., parents b. in N.Y.
  • Frank N. McLean, son, 45, single, b. in D.C., parents b. in N.Y., clerk, D.C. government.
  • Mary A. Price, boarder, 76, widow, 20 at marriage, b. in U.S., parents b. in U.S.
  • Ellen Mount, servant, 79, widow, 16 at marriage, b. in D.C., parents b. in Va., servant, private home.
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