Named English Hill
Judiciary Square Section in the Early Days
Residents Mostly Irish
Goose Creek and Swampoodle Part of the Bounds
Brickyards in Evidence
Some of the Pioneer Improvements, Public and Private-
Residents Who Held Office

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, December 23, 1907 [p. 10]

Northeast Judiciary Square, originally reservation No. 9, was for many years known as English Hill, though the large majority of the residents were of Irish birth or descent. Yet from the fact that there was on Irish Hill south of the square on 3d street between F and G streets before 1820 an English family of the name of Cook, the popular name of a section whose boundaries other than the lines of the square were indefinite, was English Hill. At one time the Tiber or Goose creek was reckoned as the eastern boundary dividing Swampoodle east of the government printing office from the hill. The little stream from the springs in the neighborhood of Convention Hall and K street market which entered the square near G and 5th streets and coursed through it in or near 3d street and Indiana avenue to the Tiber was generally considered its western limit. When, however, brick yards and kilns were located between 2d, 3d, E and F streets in the twenties these works were regarded as the south limit of the "hill." There was much clay thereabouts. Some of the older residents of the city may recall what was known in their boyhood days as Mt. Etna, the abode of a family between 3d, 4th, F and G streets, which was a reputed speakeasy, at which there were frequent eruptions, domestic and otherwise. This, with the hill, has long since disappeared and a few frame houses with brick lower stories are evidence of the demand for clay when the patent and general post office were in the course of erection about 1840. About 1800 there was a farmhouse near the corner of 3d and E streets with an orchard west of it, and it is said that for a number of years the beds of many of the streets were included in its fields and garden patches. At the northwest corner of 3d street and Indiana avenue was a spring and the water was of such quality that in the early part of the last century it was walled up and steps taken to give the public access to it. There was cut in a stone the legend "Erected by the citizens in the mayoralty of Robert Brent," which fixes the date between 1802 and 1811, as Mr. Brent, the first mayor, served in that period. The water supplied the neighborhood for many years from the spring and often from Baldwin's pump, which recently was condemned and removed.

First Improvement.
About the first private improvement to be made was that of a tavern in 1793, at the northeast corner of 3d and D streets, by Edward Burrows, who conducted it for ten or more years. This was not far from the stream mentioned, but being on the original "ridge route" of travel from the western part of the city to the Capitol, it was doubtless well located for custom, and under the name of the "City Tavern" it flourished. The property, with the adjoining lot, was bought by Moses Young, who had served in the consular service at Madrid and as secretary of legation in Holland and Paris. In the twenties David Young was residing there. It was about the only material improvement in the section in question up to 1820, though the Washington Tontine Company had for several years owned many lots there. Among the few persons who had settled in the section at that time was Phillip Mohun, a carpenter and builder, who for forty odd years resided on 3d street between F and G streets. He was the father of W. P. and Francis Mohun, who were long associated with him in building and in the lumber trade. Nathan Cook, a bricklayer, and William Harper, a stonecutter, were on the same square. James Story was on the square south and Joseph Scofield between D and E streets. Hugh Dawson, plasterer, and John Berthrong, a stonecutter, were on 2d street. On E street between 3d and 4th streets was William Esten, then a butcher and afterward in the brickmaking business, with Richard Bannister, William H. Sweeney and Bridget Connelly. On G street were John Wilkinson, carpenter, and Mrs. Catherine Davis, between 2d and 3d streets, and George Henderson, grocer, between 4th and 5th streets. In H street was Thomas Burch, then a wood measurer, and later a grocer, between 4th and 5th streets.

Public and Private.
By 1840 there had been many improvements, both of a public and private character. On the streets a little grading had been done. The houses were mostly of frame, many of them of the salt-box pattern, which in after years became the back buildings of more pretentious residences. The brick kilns mentioned were still in operation. Rollins' pottery had been established on the north side of Massachusetts avenue between 4th and 5th streets; Baldwin's carpenter shop and mill were in operation on the east side of 3d street at D street and Indiana avenue; John T. Clements had a carpenter shop on 5th street near Washington street; W. G. Deale, a similar shop on the north side of G street; A. D. Melchor's shop was on 4th street, and O'Donnoghue's soap and candle manufactory was near by. Several rows of dwellings had been erected-Mechanics' row of bricks was on the north side of D street east of 3d street; Williams' frame, on the east side of 5th street south of Massachusetts avenue, and one of three-story frames on Massachusetts avenue between 4th and 5th streets.

Though most of the residents were of the great middle class, mostly mechanics, more than the usual number filled important places, some in the city councils. Among the residents were Robert M. Beall, long an avenue grocer; Chauncey Bestor, cashier of the Patriotic Bank; Chas. W. Boteler, dealer in house furnishings on the avenue; J. Dixon, D. Ridgley and E. Johnson on D street.

Frederick A. Tschiffely, a draughtsman in the land office; J. H. Daniel and Henry Tucker, tailors; Mrs. C. Lansdale, Washington Hall and W. G. Deale were on G street, and Wm. Lord kept the grocery at the corner of 5th street. Between 2d and 3d streets were John and Robert Ball and Wm. Dyer.

In H street were J. W. Watson , a shoemaker; Thomas McCarthy, watchman; Lewis Radcliffe, a collector; Frank Frazier, John Fitzgerald, G. Gregory, printer; James Boss, John Grimes and Jackson Edmonston, carpenters; G.W. Donn, cabinet maker; T.C. Donn, justice of the peace; Thos. Hurdle, painter; John Ennes, butcher; T.W. Burch, grocer, at 5th street; and A.H. Cook, between 3d and 4th streets.

In Massachusetts avenue there were Charles Zachman, grocer, at 4th street; Charles Walker, carpenter; Wm. Rollins, potter; Wm. Phillips and P. English, printers; John Espey, bookbinder; Charles Hibbs of general land office; Wm. Phillips, Charles McDonald, Albert Burch and William E. Burch.

Residents in I Street
In I street were Mrs. Truman, John Celery, painter; L. and O. Prather, Philip Mackey, George H. Grant and James Edmonston, bricklayers; E. French and M. Gait, shoemakers, and J.T. Clements.

On the corner of 3d and F streets was R.R. Burr, and south was J.C.P. Degges' brickyard.

On 4th street between G and H streets were Charles Merrilat, machinist; James Reed, tailor; John Barrett, John Clark, Jerry Dorsey, Thomas Gallagher and Mrs. Laomin. Between Massachusetts avenue and I street were A.D. Melchor and James Jordon, and between F and G streets T.B. Hyde and Thomas Walls.

On 5th street there were Mrs. Espey B. Giveny, N. Spealges[?], shoemaker; J. A. Williams, David Fowble [Fowbie?] and John Wade, carpenters; R. Spalding, Edward Birkhead, cabinetmaker; Mrs. Mullican, T. Sheid, turner, and Washington Lewis, gunsmith.

Justice Donn was for a long time a familiar figure, a member of the councils and for more than twenty-five years a justice of the peace, the greater part of the time a police justice, holding court at the central guardhouse during the exciting war times, when the provost guard, with the local police, often had work to require almost continuous sessions. He also served several terms in the councils.

Mr. Daniel was better known in his young days by his middle name of Humphrey. He followed the tailoring business for many years. He was a singer of ability, and in the forties was the instructor of two of Washington's minstrel troupes-the Harmonians and Euterpeans-who made tours in the west and north. A feature of one was a quintet of flutes, and of the other the cowbell performance. He later devoted his entire time to music, for years leading the choirs of Wesley Chapel and the Southern Methodist churches, and long was the teacher of music in the public schools. He, too, served in the councils.

Mr. Clements had his shop as stated, but for many years was employed at the Capitol, being retained under whatever party was in power. He was prominent in local politics and represented the fourth ward in the councils in ante-bellum days. He was one of the founders of the Assembly's Presbyterian Church, 5th and I streets.

Home of the Ball Family
The Balls came here from Virginia in the late thirties, settling on G street on property now owned by the family. For some years they had charge of the jail and Robert later was in the boot and shoe business. He, too, was a singer and a member of the minstrel companies mentioned, and for several years led the choir of the First Baptist Church. He was in the councils a number of years and was prominent in Masonry, and an active member of the Oldest Inhabitants.

Mr. Walker was an active carpenter and builder, and it was he who erected the Metropolitan M.E. Church, of which he was one of the original members, having long years preceding been attached to Wesley Chapel. He, too, served in the councils.

Mr. Deale was a carpenter and builder then having his residence and shop on G street and was long a lumber inspector and measurer. He, too, was a leading member of Wesley M.E. Church, prominent in the Order of Odd Fellows and the builder of the hall on 7th street. The late Rev. John S. Deale, the pastor of several Washington churches and a presiding elder, was his son.

William Lord of the well-known family of that name was in the grocery business at 5th and G streets, famous as a gathering place of the neighbors, a sort of headquarters for the ward in which many projects for the betterment of the community were started.

Complimented by Henry Clay
Edward Birkhead was reputed to be one of the finest cabinet makers in the District and was regarded as one of the handsomest men in Washington, a tall, upright figure of six feet and more, and known as well for his genial disposition. It is related of him that in the days of Henry Clay, after finishing the renovation of the Speaker's chair, he sat in it and, to amuse his fellow-workmen, he rapped on the desk with the gavel. Mr. Clay and some of the members caught him in the act and as Mr. Birkhead left the seat Mr. Clay remarked: "You fill the chair well and we feel sure that no handsomer man will ever occupy it."

George H. Grant, then a bricklayer, is remembered as having been a member of the auxiliary guard, the night police force, from 1842 to 1861. He had two sons, William Wallace and Josiah Grant, who did service on the metropolitan police.

That the boys of the section in question were not angels is true, but they averaged well with those of other portions of the city in behavior. In the late forties and later between them and those boys of Swampoodle there were frequent fights. Generally stones were the weapons, the battleground being about 3d street and Massachusetts avenue. To this day are the scars to be found on those who received cut heads. That the residents were public spirited and patriotic there is no better evidence than that many were active volunteer firemen on the rolls of the Northern Liberties Company until in the fifties the Metropolitan Hook and Ladder Company was formed and located on Massachusetts avenue between 4th and 5th streets, when their membership was changed. Under the call for troops by President Lincoln in April, 1861, nearly all of the latter company entered the three months' service under Capt. W.H. Nalley, the roll numbering about one hundred and twenty men.