In Colonial Days
Owners of Ground Which Became Part of Capital Site
Town of Carrollsburg
One Hundred and Sixty Acres Laid Off in 1750
Located on Anacostia River
Small Shipping Interests of Record,
But Community Transacted But Little General Business

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, February 26, 1910 [pt. 2 p. 8]

The story of what are known as squares 598, 652, 653, 702 and 703 commences with the ownership of the land by Charles Craroll, jr., in the colonial days, when the tracts known as Duddington manor and Duddington pasture included much of the territory converted from wilderness into farming land. Before the plan was made by L’Enfant and Ellicott the streets and squares of Carrollsburg were there, for Mr. Carroll, whose mansion and outbuildings were erected south of these about the year 1750, laid off 160 acres into a town bearing his name on the point on the Anacostia river, or Eastern branch, east of St. James creek.

There were over 250 lots platted in squares by the laying out of thirteen streets under Henry Rozer, Daniel Carroll and Notley Young, trustees, who were empowered to dispose of the lots by lottery. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Gov. Johnson, Cols. William Fitzhugh, Tilghman and Crawford, the Digges, Ringgold, Slater, Davidson, Hepburn, Collard, Offutt and other prominent families thus became lot owners, and ere the government was permanently located there was an effort made to bring trade here.

Shipping Interests Noted
There is some evidence of shipping in notices of English papers of vessels having cleared for “the port of Carrollsburg,” but, notwithstanding the depth of water near the shore, little commercial prosperity followed, and the rural conditions have not entirely disappeared.

The squares noted, between N, O, 1st street east and Canal street west or James creek, were along the northern border of Carrollsburg, and some of the original owners under the lottery drawing held the ground when it was apportioned. That square, 598, consisting of twelve lots on N.O. Canal and 1st streets west, in 1794 was apportioned, one-half to the government, the remainder to Robert Brown, John Davidson, Daniel and Thomas Jenifer, Richard Tilghman, Dick and Stuart and Ignatius Digges. In 1799 J.H. Nicholson bought lot 3, corner of 2d and O streets, and two years later Eliza Luce had the north lot of the square. The ground was then listed at 3 cents. In after years Catharine Connell and Charles Glover owned some of the lots, and for nearly forty years the square lay idle and the assessed values depreciated to half a cent per foot. The explanation is that the ground bordering James creek was low and marshy and later became a portion of “penitentiary marsh,” then better known to gunners than to real estate operators. Capt. Thomas Corcoran, at that time engaged in the brick business, bought the government lots.

Apportioned in 1794
The square east, 652, of twenty lots, facing Half, 1st, N and O streets southwest, was apportioned in 1794. In March of that year S. Coolidge obtained a certificate of the commissioners for lot 1, corner of Half and O streets, and for lots 264 and 287, Carrollsburg, and at the same time he sold this lot and lot 4, square 608, on 3d street between T and U streets, for $266.66, and sold lot 1, square 652,, to Robert Darnell, in this year the partition was made with the proprietors, the government retaining title to lots 4, 6 to 10, 13 to 17 and 19, and in exchange for Carrollsburg lots Charles Carroll, jr., S. Coolidge, Notley Young, J. Hepburn and E. Spriggs, William Russell, W. Beanes, Joseph Digges and David Crawford were given city lots.

In 1800 John Darnell owned lot 11, corner of N and 1st streets, and sold it to Notley Maddox. In 1811 Catherine Connell owned part of 11, and in 1815 lots 18, 20, 5 and 2 passed by tax title to William Emack, Adam Lindsay, John Hoye and James McCormack, respectively Up to this time the 3 cents per foot rate for taxation was decreasing, and for years one cent was the figure, and in 1829 three fourths of a cent. In 1816 John Emmerson owned part of lot 11, which two years later wa vested in Ezra Simpson. In 1819 Adam Lindsay owned lot 12 and J.A. Smith lot 5, the latter in 1838 going to John Hoye, and the same year B. Kelly owned lot 18.

Col. Washington Buys Lots
In square 653 Col. William Augustine Washington, nephew of the President, became interested, the lot at the corner of N and Half streets being included in his purchase in November, 1791, of eight Carrollsburg lots from Thomas Ringgold of Kent county, Md., for L122 10s. The square embraced nineteen lots, facing east and west, between N, O, Half and South Capitol streets, and under the partition in 1794 the government retained title to nine lots, six on Half street and three on South Capitol street. The others were vested as follows: No. 1, in Dr. W. Scott; No 2, Daniel Carroll, commissioner; No. 3, Dr. John Stuart; No. 10, Col. Washington; Nos. 11 and 12, Notley Young No. 15, Elizabeth Laidlaw; No. 17, Ralph Foster; No. 18, Mary Young and Elizabeth Carroll, and No. 19, Thomas Johnson. Shortly after this Peter Cazanave, the son-in-law of Notley Young, a Georgetown merchant, owned lot 19. In 1795 lot 10 passed to A. Gouger, and in 1799 Elizabeth Carroll owned lots 17 and 18. A. Densley bought lot 16 in 1800 and F. DeBloch, lot 19. In 1801 Thomas Herty bought of James Thompson one-half of lot 16. N. Young was in possession of lot 12 the next year, and F. Delius owned lot 19 in 1807.

Taxed at Low Rate
Three cents was the corporation value of the ground which fell to a cent and below and by 1815 a number of lots passed by tax title for as low as 80 cents per lot. In 1815 Z. Farrell owned lot 2 and H. Buford lot 3. In 1823 J. Pearson and others owned lot 11, and Count Demenu in 1829 had lot 10 in his name. Nicholas Callen, jr., bought lot 16 in 1835, John A. Smith lot 8 two years afterward, and in 1838 lot 8 went to John Hoye and lot 11, through R.J. Brent et al., passed to John Farley.

Square 702 of twenty lots on South Capitol and Half streets east between N and O streets was divided in 194, the government taking title to lots 4 to 9 and 12 to 18 and for lots 241, 240, 256, 112, 110, 257 and 249 of Carrollsburg. The title to lot 1 was vested in Barnes & Redgate, 2 in Anne Torrin, 2 in Thomas Richardson & Co., 10 by Stephen Moyland, 11 in D. Carroll, Commissioner; 19 in James Holladay and 20 in James Mewburn. In 1795 Mr. Holladay was given a deed for his lot; in 1797 lot 20 went to H. and J. Appleton and in 1800 James Stranger had lot 8 and R. Moon lot 9. P. Sim owned lot 11, corner of Half and N streets, in 1803, and Charles varden, R. chery and Thomas Young owned parts of the same a little later. In 1810 Samuel N. Smallwood, subsequently mayor of Washington, owned part of lot 11 and in 1811 Daniel Carroll owned part of 1, corner of Half and O streets.

Acquired by Tax Titles
In 1815 by tax deed 11, Buford had part of 1; in 1816 J.S. Clarke part 11, and in 1822 tax titles to lot 10 went to William Ingle and 2 to J. Kedglie; in 1828, to J.M. Young, for lot 6 and to S.D. King for 19, and in 1833 H. Kingsley lot 9. In 1837 the deed to government lots 4 to 7 and 12 to 18 to Georgetown College, under donation act of 1833, was made, and in 1841 they were bought of Rev. Dr. James Ryder, president, for 1-1/2 cents per foot by Zadok Williams and William Richards.

Twenty lots, six fronting on N street and seven each on Half and 1st streets southeast, were laid out in square 703. In 1794 the partition between the Commissioners and proprietors vested title for Carrollsburg lots as follows: Lot 1, corner 1st and O streets, to Samuel Collard for $119; lot 2, corner Half and O streets, to Dick & Start for $243; lot 3, to same for $259; lot 4, to Edward Tighlman for $258; lot 9, to William Claggett and John Watson for $11; lot 14, to Thomas Jennings for $114; lot 15, to James Tighlman for $117; lot 16, to William Russell for $113; lot 17, to same for $121; lot 18, to Stephen Moyland of Pennsylvania for $116, and lot 19, to J. Hepburn, jr., and E. Spriggs. The title to the others remained in the United States.

In 1799 John Mason bought lot 9, corner of N and Half streets, and in connection with this lot was the deed of Alexander Hanson, chancellor of Maryland, to Mason reciting that the latter had in 1793 bought of R.B. Lathner lots 252 and half of 111, Carrollsburg lots, the property of Barton Clark and Peter Campbell, for $192. In 1801 Clement Boswell bought lot 1 at 1st and O streets and three years later lot 20, adjoining, selling part of the latter to George Collard. Mr. Boswell lived here in a frame house listed in the early days at $500 and Mr. Collard in one listed at the same, and for over half a century were the families here. They were for many years in the city councils, the latter a leading carpenter and builder, and a son became prominent in the lumber trade.

Boswell Property Transferred
About 1837 George Adams bought the Boswell property in lots 1 and 20. In 1811 Catherine Connell bought at the public sale at Rhodes Hotel the property of W. Mayne Duncanson and Michael Johnson, lot 19. Charles Glover had lot 14 in 1815 and in 1818 Ezra Sampson, jr., had lot 19. In 1837 the government lots 5 to 8 and 10 to 13 were deeded to Georgetown College and from 1837 to 1839 tax title was given for some others.

In these squares in the first assessment the ground was listed at 3 cents per foot, but the values crawled downward, and in 1829 half that amount and less was the rate. Then it fell to half a cent; this, to, in 1800, when on squares north quite a settlement was made and a church or chapel was erected nearby. It appears that as a business town Carrollsburg was a failure, but perhaps no part of Washington has furnished more bricks for building and paving than the old burg, which for nearly the whole of the last century was best known as “Brickyard Hill,” where the Maddox, Williams and Richards families operated.