Southwest Section
Importance of Locality Near Old Long Bridge
In Early Days of City
Situation When Corporation of Washington Took Charge
Overlooking River Front
Names of Business Men-Progress of Improvements-Homes Prominent in Social Circles.

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, November 30, 1907 [pt. 3, p. 1]

Though that portion of Washington near the old Long Bridge never showed, in the old days, as much development as more favored localities, in some respects it was as important as any part. There is associated some history in common with sections in which Greenleaf, Morris & Nicholson, Tom Law and others operated, but the buildings the former contracted to erect, a house on every third lot, did not materialize. From that coterie there was only one small building in evidence when the old corporation of Washington took jurisdiction in 1802. It was a small frame cottage erected by Capt. W. M. Duncanson in 1797, and in which he resided from 1802 until his death in 1812. This overlooked the river between 12th and 13th streets, and could not compare with the fine brick houses on N street near 4 and on South Carolina avenue near 6th street southeast, where he resided before his fortune had flown.

Archibald Cheshire appeared on the scene in 1813 and was engaged in the wood business several years on the wharf, residing in a fine brick residence erected in 1817 on the northwest corner of Maryland avenue and 13 street. Capt. Peter Lenox, the father of Walter Lenox, the mayor of the city about 1850, settled in 1817 on the south side of Maryland avenue between 13th and 13 streets. He was a well-known builder of his day, the master carpenter at the Capitol for many years, and was largely interested in corporation matter [sic] as a public-spirited citizen. His residence, erected about 1817, on an elevation, afforded a fine view in every direction. Josiah F. Caldwell bought the two-storied brick building erected by Aaron Van Coble under an agreement with J. M. Varnum, who had purchased the square in 1820 and made a subdivision. Mr. Caldwell was a resident here till his death about 1828 and had filled a position in the second auditor's office several years. The family were here for many years thereafter.

Bulk of Improvement
In the twenties the bulk of improvement was in the square between Maryland avenue, 13, 14th and D streets, there being twelve houses, of which nine had been erected by Mrs. Cazenave [sic] and her son-in-law, Maj. P. G. Howle; two by Mr. Cheshire and one by J. P. Davis, who were residents. That at the corner of 14th street and Maryland avenue was John Smith's tavern in a frame building and a popular stopping place for the bridge travel. Anthony Preston, a slater and later a leading citizen of the second ward, was long a guest here. To the east was the home of Josiah Millard, the toll gatherer for the Washington Bridge Company. Opposite Rafael Semmes opened a store about 1826. In the thirties C. McWilliams and S. Childs were wood dealers on the wharf.

In the neighborhood on 13 street there were Jacob Roscup and Jacob Eckhart, butchers; Michael Gilligan, a bricklayer, and Fielder R. Dorsett and Peter Hepburn, carpenters. The last named was a lifelong resident of South Washington and one of the best-known builders in that section and served many terms as commissioner and assessor in the old seventh ward. Mr. Dorsett later moved to the neighborhood of the White House and carried on business for more than half a century.

South Side of Maryland Avenue
Ignatius Mudd in 1836 bought and took up his residence on the south side of Maryland avenue at 12th street and was there for many years. He, too, was a carpenter and builder, and was a public-spirited citizen, especially interested in the cause of popular education, serving many years as a trustee of the public schools in the fourth, or Island, district. He was the commissioner of public buildings and grounds about sixty years ago.

The Lenox residence on Maryland avenue became about 1840 the home of Col. W. B. Randolph, and he lived there for many years, until nearly the civil war. Connected by blood and marriage with leading families of Virginia and Maryland, Mrs. Randolph, a daughter of Gen. John M. Lingan, one of the original proprietors, the house was not unknown in the social life of Washington. Col. Randolph had before resided in Georgetown, where he commanded the Georgetown Rifles. Coming to Washington, he retained his interest in the military, holding the position of inspector general of the District. He entered the service of the Treasury in the days of Munroe [sic], serving to his death in the Lincoln administration, for nearly twenty-five years being the chief clerk of the treasurer. For a number of years, as a member of the boards of public school trustees and health and in other capacities, he served the corporation.

In the Forties
Several new names appeared with a few of the above in the forties. Smith's frame tavern had been supplanted by a brick structure, which had been given the name of the "Farmers and Drovers' Rest," under the management of J. C. Stewart for some years and later of William Thomas. Many of the cattle for the Washington butchers then coming over the bridge, the drovers found the place convenient, and, with other transient trade, it was a popular tavern stand for many years. J. S. Harvey & Co. had established a grocery store on the south side of Maryland avenue in 1838, and other groceries were kept by Wm. Evans, J. H. Collins and T. W. Edwards on Maryland avenue. There were also living on Maryland avenue Thos. C. Wells and George McNaughton, drawkeepers; Conrad and Jacob Faunce, George and Fred Neitzey and George Gibson, well known in the fish and game business; V. Willett, then dealing in cattle; also Capt. Isaac Allen, W. J. Bronaugh, a post office clerk; Mrs. Elliot, William Radcliffe and I. Wimsatt, grocers; Mrs. Kemp and Miss Peckham, a teacher. There were on 13 street Dearborn B. Johnson, George T. Raub with a soap and candle factory; on 13th street, John Davidson, carpenter; Thomas White, John Beitzel and N. Whitemore, and on 12th street, Reuben Dobbs and William Rabbitt, the latter a tailor, who attained very old age. J. J. Shedd, William Wilson, Thomas Wright and - Beeler, well-known butchers, some having their slaughter houses and pens on the river west of the bridge, then lived on 13 street; as did Charley Finnegan, who for years was one of the best-known hackmen, famous down to war times as a jovial night liner. George Richardson, a wood dealer, and A. Bannister, a ducker, were on 13th street.

When it is remembered that in the olden time wild fowl and fish were more abundant on the river than now it is not surprising that gunning and fishing were favorite pastimes, and with some a business; nor that most boys before out of their teens were at home in or out of the water. And besides the boys acquiring such tastes as are developed in such surroundings they were able to hold their own with any of the rival gangs prone to rough-and-tumble and stone fights in Washington's middle ages. Nevertheless, in such surroundings an admiral of the navy, Robley D. Evans, spent much of his boyhood and attended the primary school of Mrs. Southworth, standing well up on the premium lists, as also did many useful members of society. Among whom may be noted Messrs. D. B. Johnson, who represented the seventh ward in the councils; G. T. Raub and J. J. Shedd, who after were in the councils from the second ward.

Owned by Cazanave Family
On the west side of 14th street, the three-sided square south of D street numbered 233, was part of Notley Young's land, and it remained in the family for many years. The title to it passed to his daughter, Ann, who married Peter Cazanave, who was a Georgetown merchant at the time the city was laid out. Mr. Cazanave was of Spanish birth, and about the year 1800 started to visit his kindred. He, however, was taken ill and died in Philadelphia.

The widow lived only a few years at the home established about 1790 on Delaware avenue between M and N streets, which was standing twenty years ago. After her husband's death she resided on the site of the Arlington Hotel, H street and Vermont avenue, in a colonial frame house, and later spent a few years at her father's home, the old mansion house on G street between 9th and 10th streets southwest. For Mrs. Cazanave the handsome old house was erected about 1812, facing 14th street south of D street, and she resided there with her son and daughter till her death. The daughter married Maj. Park G. Howle when he was a lieutenant of the Marine Corps, a gallant officer who distinguished himself in our first battle in the east, about 1832, and in subsequent wars, and the title passed to him. With an interesting family of daughters in a fine house in well-kept grounds, and possession of extensive acquaintance in the official and social life of the metropolis, the house was well known to old-time society.