Plan Was Unique
By James Croggon, The Evening Star, January 23, 1910 [pt. 4, p. 1]
Within the lines of 21st, 23d, E and G streets city squares were laid out in 1791, number 58 to 60 and 81 to 83, over what had been the lots of Haburgh or Funkstown twenty years before. This settlement, the land for which passed from Thomas Johns to Funk in 1765, was platted and lots were conveyed to many purchasers direct from Funk.
In Faetz and Pratt's "Washington in Embryo," published in 1874, Henry Brooke, clerk of the court of Prince George county, states that none of the deeds from Funk in his office recited that the lots were drawn by lottery or ballot. It appears, however, on the land records of the District that a number of the Hamburgh lots were disposed of by lottery. In some records it is recited that a ticket had been purchased of Funk for five shillings – two-thirds of a dollar – in return for which a lot had been given. In another case, it is recited, L15 had been paid him for two lots.
It seems that Funk conveyed what lots that had not been disposed of to Benjamin Stoddert and William Deakins, December 20, 1792, and left the District, going to western Maryland. In a deed to Evan Thomas from Stoddert and Deakins it provided, further, that he had purchased a ticket from Funk for five shillings, and became the owner of lot 81 of Hamburgh, for which, and the further sum of five shillings, they conveyed lot 2, square 59, 67 by 137 feet, at the northeast corner of 23d and E streets.
Owners Were Optimistic
In square 58, a triangle of over 22,000 square feet, in the lines of Virginia avenue, F and 22d streets, there was but one lot, which in 1794 was vested in the government. In 1815 it was purchsed by Richard Handley. At that time the assessed value was 1 cent per foot.
In 1830 a building valued at $50 was shown, and eight years later W.D. Handley had title. Anton Heitmuller & Bro. owned it in 1854, and after the civil war Alexander R. Shepherd bought and subdivided it.
Four lots, three fronting on 23d street, were in square 59, south of square 58, between virginia avenue and E street. The government retained two, and Evan, Thomas and Christian Orindorf each obtained one in exchange for Hamburgh lots.
Three cents per foot was the first value of the ground listed to them, but 1 cent was the rate after Morris & Nicholson and Uriah Forrest owned interest in lot 4, at the northwest corner, before 1800, and Elias B. Caldwell and William Simmons soon afterward owned in the same lot. About 1825 Mary Smith, Charles Williams and Susan Goodyear were on it, and afterward Pattie Ford. In 1830 Charles Williams was assessed for a one-hundred-and-fifty-dollar house, and Susan Goodyear for $200, each near the corner of Virginia avenue and 23d street.
United States gets Two
In 1797 John McCormick and Evan Evans were on part 2, and in 1800 Mr. Caldwell had lot 6, which passed to Stoddard for the Tontine Company. Robert Leckie in 1827-32 owned lots 1, 2, 3 and 6, and erected a brick residence on 22d street, in which he lived for several years, listed at $3,000. This was in 1837 sold to Azariah Fuller of stage line fame and for years proprietor of the City Hotel, afterward the Willard. This was for many years the family residence.
The twenty-one lots forming square 81 in the lines of E, F, 21st and 22d streets and Virginia avenue were the scene of the most activity in the transfers in the early days, though for forty years there was but one substantial improvement on it – that of Col. Stephen Pleasonton's home at the corner of 21st and G streets.
In the division of 1794 the government retained lots 6, 7, 8 and 12, and the other lots were transferred for the Hamburgh owners as follows: George Holstein, two; French & Moore, John McDade, H. Pauling, W. Buddicomb, valentine Hoof, G. Kemp, D. Hesler, H. Warman and H. Clagott, one each. Greenleaf the same year had the three lots at 21st and E streets and two years after Morris & Nicholson passed their interests to W. Mayne Duncanson et al. In 1800 G. Warman owned part of lot 14, on F street, Robert Peter recorded his deed for lot 3, in which the purchase of tickets is recited, 15 pounds for two.
Owners in 1800
In 1803 Nicholas King owned lot 15 on F street, which passed to Robert King, soon after. In 1805 lots 1, 2, 6, 7 8 and 21 were held in trust for the Tontine company, and J. Minor owned lot 13. In 1809 Christian Kemp owned lot 5. In 1812 A. Wilson owned an interest in lot 9, which the next year went to Joseph Milligan, and George French owned lots 16 and 17, the latter going to Col. Pleasonton in 1819.
In 126 Thomas Sandiford, for a long time a carpenter and builder bought lot 11 at the southeast corner of F and 23d streets, and had a shop there listed at $100. In 1827 Fleet Smith owned lot 5, Dr. Henry Huntt lots 1 and 6, and J.H. Handly lot 21. A few months later Dr. Huntt sold to James Auld part of lot 1, 80.9 feet by 50, at the corner of 22d and E streets, for $201.80 – about 5 cents per foot. Two years afterward the latter sold it to Andrew Hoover for $250. In 1829 A. McDonald bought lot 9, G. Beale lot 7 and Walter Smith lot 8. In 1830 C.W. Goldsborough owned lot 2 and John Boyle lot 6, the latter also in 1831 buying lot 1 and Ambrose Dunn lot 21 on 21st street.
But One Lot in Square 82
Five lots constituted square 83 on the lines of Virginia avenue, D, E and 22d streets. A lot was assigned to Dr. Henry Sneberly for lot 145; two to H. Hilleary, jr., for 102, and lot 4 to Joseph garlick for lot 103, all in Hamburgh. In 1791 George Anderson of Georgetown had bought the latter of Mr. Garlick, over 9,000 feet at the southeast corner of 22d and E streets, for 40 pounds – $2.66 to the pound.
In 1794 Jay Thompson of Fayette county, Pa., bought this lot of Anderson for 75 pounds, and the next year Thompson sold it to William Deakens for 82 pounds – $219. In 1804 lot 3 was recorded in the name of Elias B. Caldwell, trustee of Gustavus Scott's estate, and in 1807 W. Hindman owned it.
In 1812 John Hoye had lot 4. Under the donation of city lots made by Congress in 1832 to the educational and charitable institutions of the District lot 5 went to the Columbian College, now George Washington University.
In these five squares there are some lots on the original natural grade, but besides the street beds much has been cut to grade since. During the war it was occupied by government corrals.
The house of Col. Pleasonton, on 22d street, is standing, also the house of Robert Leckie, on D street between 22d and 23d, afterward the Fuller residence. The latter is now occupied by colored families. What was long known as the Taylor house, corner of New York avenue and 22d street, remains.
In the forties Mrs. Begnam resided on 21st street. Mrs. Goodyear was on 22d street, with Louisa M. Rodgers, after her.