Old Carrollsburg
Development of Southeastern Section of District
Long Ago Enterprises
Changes of Ownership From Colonial Days
Men Interest in Projects

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, April 29, 1910 [p. 4]

In the lines of Carrollsburg, which, in colonial days, was laid off from 268 lots, there were plotted a number of building squares of the projected capital city by L'Enfant and Elliott.

Among these there fell, between S and U streets south, St. James creek and the Anacostia or Eastern branch, squares 606 to 609 and 663 to 666, including E. 664. They were cut into more than 100 building lots.

Long before the lots under the Carrollsburg subdivision had passed into the hands of holders under the trustees of Charles Carroll, jr.; Harry Rozer, Daniel Carroll and Notley Young. From the location of many in these squares on the high grounds on which a few yards north was the mansion house of Mr. Carroll, it was expected that the burg would be developed.

When the territory passed into the hands of the United States in 1791 little or nothing had been done for improvement other than by the farmer. Aside from agricultural pursuits, directed from the manor house by Capt. Ignatius Fenwick, there were otheres so engaged.

And, indeed, farming, if the cultivation of building squares in garden truck can be so called, has been carried on here for many years.

Hunting and Fishing
St. James creek on the west was long a paradise for hunters, and fish were plentiful.

There was some attempt to build up trade in the history of Carrollsburg, and hardly had it been platted as part of the Capital city before the firm of Lear & Co. became interested. This firm, composed of Col. Tobias Lear, Washington's secretary; Tristam Dalton, formerly senator from Massachusetts, afterward a commissioner of the district, and Mr. Greenleaf, so well known for his transactions in lots and buildings, have left no trace of enterprise here, but were in business some years at the west end of the city, with storehouse wharf at the foot of G street northwest.

Lewis Debbois, a merchant of East Washington, was interested in the water front about 1800. Soon after came Capt. James Barry, John and Jeremiah Booth and Capt. Joe Johnson. Capt. Barry's larger interests were about the south end of New Jersey avenue. He had his residence there. The Booths established a ferry across the branch to Poplar point. Capt. Johnson, after running a sailboat, was pioneer steamboat captain for many years.

In the early days of the corporation the ground was listed at 1, 2 and 3 cents per foot on the ground, but in 1806 was reduced one-half; and improvements were listed to Capt. Johnson, $400, corner Water and T streets, Messrs. Booth, $300, and $1,000 eat of Water between South and T street, and Capt. Barry, $4,000, corner Water and S street. Gradually the values declined, in a quarter of a century the ground falling to small fractions of a cent a foot and water lots were listed at $1 per front foot. James Frazier was in the thirties listed for $200 on lot 10, square 606, on Half street, before the property of G. Henning; Capt. Johnson, $2,200 and $200, and E. Booth, $200, in square 664, and Joseph Parsons, 4150, lot 19, square 665, on Half street between T and U streets.

Lots Allotted by Lottery
The lines of S, T, 2d and 3d streets southwest include the ten lots of square 606, while those of square 608, directly south, 19 lots, all fronting east or west. In the days of Carrollsburg many lots were disposed of by lottery and some of the lucky ones held title till the transfer to Bealll and Gant, who held in trust for the commissioners and took in exchange city lots when the apportionment was made.

Of the holders in Carrollsburg who became owners of Washington city lots were some whose family names yet are familiar and others have passed out of mind. Included among such holders in square 606 were Col. W.A. Washington, Thomas Richardson, Anna Gray, Dr. John Stuart, Christopher Richmond and Martha Hall. The government took title to these lots, and in 1794, the following year, B. Hall having the lot 2d and S streets, Notley Maddox in 1801 owned lot 5 and after lot 8 went to Ezekial McDaniel, but in the twenties several passed by tax title. Count Demenu, the French minister, owned lot 2 about 1830 and sold to R. Oliver.

In square 608, prior to 1800, R. Darnall, Greenleaf, Gustavus Scott, Morris & Nicholson and John Appleton operated, but for some years the property lay idle. In 1815 D.H. Slater et al. owned it, and sold lot 17 to Benjamin G. Orr, then mayor of the city. Later Henry T. Weightman, John A. Smith, Allison Nailor, G.C. Grammar and James Frazier were interested. Lying on the creek for over half a century unconverted into James Creek canal, the lots were of little value.

Square 607, of ten lots, five each fronting S and T streets southwest, was apportioned in 1794, five each to the United States and holders of lots 150, 161, 165, 168 and 172, Carrollsburg John Craig, Notley Young, Daniel Jenifer, jr., Col. Washington and William Sidebottom. Col. Washington sold to A. Gougar in 1795, but, excepting with lot 5, there was no change for several years.

In 1803 J.M. Speaks bought this lot, selling parts to John Duky and J. Baltzer afterward, and in 1804 G. Moore owned a lot. Most of the square was eaten up by taxes, and in the twenties some lots were included in the investments of Col. Demenu, and afterward went to Robert Oliver.

The seven lots fronting 1st street and the seven on 2d street between T and U streets formed square 609, of which the government had seven and the others were vested in Edward Parkinson, William Russell, Col. Washington, Joseph Wharton, William Diggs and Reuben Merriweather. D. Ross and A. Gougar bought this Washington lot in 1795, and Charles Glover became owner of several lots by tax deeds in 1815, and later Count Demenu was interested.

Owners in Square 663
Square 663, ten lots fronting on Half and 1st streets between S and T streets, was vested; three lots in the United States and others exchanged for the burg lots with Henry Roxer, four lots; Mathey Tilghman, James Tilghman and Col. Washington, one each. The latter sold to A. Gougar in 1795, and other than for taxing, no record was made until May 1810, when Capt. Johnson bought lot ten for $236.25, at about 2-1/2 cents per foot.

Half of this lot was sold in 1818 to Capt. George Henning, who made his residence here many years. In 1815 Hoy bought lot eight and George Adams lot four, through tax sale, and fifteen years later Count Demenu owned lot seven, and some forty years ago, James Frazier owned eight lots through tax title.

Square 664 of eight lots fronting Half street between S and T streets, separated by Water street from square east of 664, with like number of lots of lands and water with the latter square, was the scene of early settlement, from where an effort was made to build up maritime trade. These were constructed on Carrollsburg ground, in which the lotholders interested include Capt. William Macgakin, Col. Washington, Jacques & Johnson, Barnes & Redgate and others, some of whom held through winning in the lottery years before. In 1793 Col. Washington owned lot three in square 664, Tobias Lear & Co. lots four and five, and Thomas Johnson, lot six, the latter the year after being sold to W.W. Appleton. John Appleton about the same time was largely interested in the square east.

The deed to Lear & Co. conveys over 11,000 feet of ground for $520, less than 5 cents per foot. In 1802 the heirs of William Stewart conveyed to James Barry lot 8 in each square for $106 and later he conveyed part of the same, extending to the channel at the Eastern branch, to John and Jeremiah Booth, who for years maintained a ferry across the Eastern branch. In 1804 Capt. Barry bought lots 4 and 5, square 664, for $1,200, nearly 10 cents per foot.

The following year Capt. Johnson bought at T and Water streets lot 1, square 664. Later, St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum, S.P. Lowe and Capt. William Easby were interested in those squares.

The fact that east squares of square 665 opposite square 666 were cut into thirty-foot lots, facing lots of the same width on the east side of Water street, is an indication that the projectors anticipated the erection of business houses here and that a foreign trade would be built up here. And indeed in the plan of Carrollsburg were the lots on the water front of small dimensions, and in addition to the streets convenient alleys rendered access to the water front while the names of some lot holders are suggestive of commerce.

In square 665 seven lots were platted on 1st street, one each on T and U streets and thirteen on Half and Water streets, and east the lots in square 666 were bare of dry land. In the aportionment of 1794 the government retained title to half the lots in the former and five in the latter. James Patten owned lots 3 in square 665 and in 1808 Daniel Carroll and Daniell lots 2 to 8, square 666.

In 1800 Louis Debbois owned lot 14 in the former, lot 10 in the latter and sold the latter to Katherine Dalton. In 1804 James Barry owned lots 19 in square 665 and 5 in square 666. After 1815 much of property passed by tax title, and the names of Count Demenu, S.H. Machin, Eli Cross, E.B. Duvall, J. Coad, E. Semmes and others attached.

The Barry property changed hands about 1819, and there was no improvement in the vicinity for many years, but in more recent years there have appeared in these squares over a dozen buildings whose aggregate value on the corporation books is not $8,000, while the ground rates from 2 to 7 cents, and the water front is taxed on a value of $1.50 to $1.80 per foot. Some of the streets have been improved, but first-class conditions are yet wanting, the neighborhood being about as close to the original conditions as any part of Washington.