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Union Benevolent Association
and
Quaker Cemeteries


Document Date Contents Notes Source Researcher

1800's

Land Transfer Deed from Joseph L. Sholfield et al to Jonathan Seaver et al, re: Quaker cemetery 12/6/1845 'Between Joseph L. Sholfield of the City of Washington in the District of Columbia and Roger Brook and William Thomas of Montgomery County in the State of Maryland of the one part, and Jonathan Seaver, Henry Janney of the said city and George Shoemaker and William L. Shoemaker of Georgetown of the said District of the other part. Witnesseth: Whereas on the nineth day of December 1807 a certain Jonathan Shoemaker then of Washington County in the District of Columbia for and in consideration of the sum of $1 conveyed and sold unto Joseph L. Sholfield and Samuel Hutchinson of Washington aforesaid, and Roger Brooke, William Thomas and Samuel Lukins of Montgomery County, and Samuel Snowden of Anne Arundel County in the State of Maryland a piece of land described in a certain deed and lying in the county of Washington in the District of Columbia and beginning at the SW corner of a lot of the said Jonathan Shoemaker enclosed by a post and rail fence... to be held by them and the survivors or survivor of them in trust for the use of the religious society of Friends as a burying ground ... And whereas the said lot or parcel of ground has been continued to the uses for which it was granted and the said Society of Friends being desirous to perpetuate the title to the said lot or parcel of ground in the names of living members of the Society.'" The ownership of the Quaker Cemetery remained with members of the Society. In 1899, the Society of Friends in Alexandria petitioned to abandon the cemetery lot (Columbia Title Co. Case No. 174669). However, in 1951, when Shapiro attempted to purchase the lot, the Society still retained title. The cemetery was never acquired by the NZP, and eventually became public land for the District of Columbia. DC Archives, Land Records, Liber WB 122, Folio 58-60. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Land Transfer Deed from Gurdon Snowden et al to David A. Burr, re: mortgage on cemetery land 5/16/1870 "This indenture made between Gurden Snowden, Henry Logan, Joseph Shorter, Anthony Hickmann and Hamilton Martin of Washington City in the District of Columbia, trustees for the Union Benevolent Association of the District of Columbia, colored, of the first part and David A. Burr of said city of Washington of the second part.

Whereas the said parties of the firsts part are justly indebted unto Charles F. Adams, trustee in the sum of $1,250 for which amount he holds their two promisory notes drawn for the sum of $625 each both dated 1 May 1870 and made payable with interest, the first, fifteen months after date, the second, thirty months after date. ... unto David A. Burr of the city of Washington, in the District of Columbia, part of the second part, all that parcel of land forming a part of the tract formerly called "Pleasant Plains" and more recently the "Columbia Mill property" lying and situate in the county of Washington... the same containing 6 3/4 acres as near as may be, together with the right of way to said premises over the private road leading thence to the main road between the land of Mrs. Hobbie and Holt. ...

In trust nevertheless for the uses and purposes following and none other that is to say to suffer and permit the said parties of the first part ... when any and every such default or failure being made in payment as aforesaid, the said party of the second part shall at the request in writing of the said Charles F. Adams, trustee, as his legal representative proceed to sell and dispose the said premise..."

The Union Benevolent Association paid $2,500 to Charles Francis Adams when they purchased the cemetery land in 1870. The remaining $1,250 were mortgaged with two promisory notes of $625 each. David Burr was a legal representative of Charles Francis Adams. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records, Liber 614, Folio 249-252. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Land Transfer Deed from Charles Frances Adams to Gurden Snowden et al, re: creation of cemetery 12/7/1870 'I Charles Frances Adams of Quincy in the county of Sufolk and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as one trustee under the will of John Quincy Adams and also by authority of a decree of the Supreme Judiciary Court of said Commonwealth in consideration of $2,500 paid by Gurden Snowden, Henry Logan, Joseph Shorter, Anthony Hackman and Hamilton Martin, trustees to me as trustee under the will of John Quincy Adams as aforesaid, the receipt hereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby give grant bargain sell and convey ... in trust for the benefit of the Union Benevolent Association of the District of Columbia, colored, all that land forming a part of the entire tract formerly called 'Pleasant Plains' and more recently known as Columbia Mills Property, which is founded as follows viz: beginning at a stone found at the NE corner of the Quaker Burying Ground ... containing 6 3/4 acres... together with a right of way to said premises over the road, leading to the main road, running between lands of Julianne Hobbie and Hillio Boyd and heretofore conveyed to and used by the occupants of the Columbia Mill property. To have and to hold the granted premises with all the priviledges and appurtenances hereto belonging to the said Snowden, Logan, Shorter, Hackman and Martin...' The Adams family conveyed 6 3/4 acres to the Union Benevolent Association which was used by the Association as an African American cemetery. DC Recorder of Deeds, Land Records, Liber 630, Folio 382. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum written by William Hornaday listing Union Benevolent Association members 1/1/1889 "Union Benevolent Association
Trustees: Henry Logan, 2125 K Street
Joshua Shorter, 452 Massachusetts Ave.
Anthony Hickmann, 1009 3rd Street
Hamilton Martin, 310 New York Ave.
President: Isaac Clark, 443 N Street, NW
Names and addresses were written down for the Union Benevolent Association trustees and president. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 289, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
City Directories for Washington, DC, re: trustees of the Union Benevolent Association 1/1/1889
"Isaac Clarkdriver, living at 443 N St, NW (p 287)
Anthony Hickmannlaborer, living at 1013 3rd St, NW (p. 473)
Henry Loganno occupation listed, living at 2125 K St. NW (p. 576)
Joseph Shorterbarber at 419 10th St, NW, living at 452 Massachusetts Ave., NW (p. 777)"
Isaac Clark was the President of the Union Benevolent Association in 1889 and the other four men were trustees of the organization. Martin Luther King Library1 Washingtoniana Division,
Microfilm, City Directories 1888-89.
Sabina Wiedenhoeft
NZP Report on the acquisition of land from the Union Benevolent Association author/date) 1/1/1889 'Young Men's Colored Baptist Cemetery"Owners: Young Men's Baptist Association. President, Isaae Clark, 443 N. Street NW, Washington.==Property: 6 3/4 acres bounded by Adams Mill Road, Cliffbourne and Rock Creek. Used as a colored cemetery.==Improvements: Very few improvements and those of very little value. There is one brick vault. Enclosed by whitewashed board fence. Office building worth about $200. Graves are principally marked by painted wooden head-boards. Marble headstones are few, comparatively. Roads and paths very rough. The lower end is not yet occupied but is being opened up. A stream runs along the N. side the cemetery for its whole length. From this stream the ground slopes up toward Cliffbourne.==Assessed value: This property is assessed at 1/2 cent per square foot or $217 per acre.==Estimated value in 1889: Value estimated May 14, 1889 by Honorary Appraisers at $15,000 for the entire tract.==Desirability: If included in the park, this hillside would make a good field for a herd of buffaloes, when properly improved. There are a few fine trees on the lower end of the tract. It would be desirable to have this for the sake of keeping houses from being built upon it in such a manner as to overlook the Park; but it is doubtful whether its acquisition for that reason alone (the principle one) would be advisable, considering the price it would be necessary to pay. Moreover, houses built upon this tract can be hidden from the Park to a great extent by judicious tree-planting.==Negotiations: Up to May 12, 1889 the officers of the Association had made no response whatever to either the advertisement or the circular of the Commission; nor had anyone connected with the Commission sought them for interviews.'==[Attached map of the cemetery layout shows 6 3/4 acres south of Adams Mill Road reaching down to Rock Creek.] The NZP was interested in purchasing the cemetery land as a screened area to block the view from surrounding homes. Note the brick vault and office building which were either located on land not purchased by the NZP or were presumably removed since later NZP documents do not mention them again. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 289, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to the Commissioners from the Honorary Appraisers, re: boundary lines of the NZP 5/15/1889 'The Zoological Park Commission,"Washington, DC.==Gentlemen:"At the request of the Commissioners for the location of a Zoological Park, we have carefully examined the lands to which our attention has been called, and, with one or two exceptions, we have personally visited and inspected each of the lots designated. While our opinion has been at times diverse upon particular lots, we have, after full conference, agreed on the valuation of each of the tracts, and we have valued them at what we think are fair market prices at the present time."It should be remembered that these lands lie mostly in the valley of Rock Creek, on its steep hill sides, and that the larger portion of them is absolutely of no value for agricultural purposes, while but a small portion is available for building sites. The Honorary Appraisers are well acquainted with the value of land below Woodley Lane Road, and think it would be impossible to obtain the required amount of upland in this vicinity at prices within the limits of the Act."The following estimates are respectfully submitted:"... Colored Cemetery, entire tract, 6 3/4 acres $15,000"Note. This land lies much lower than Dr. Holt's tract, and the whole is valued at the stated price. ...==Respectfully submitted,"Gardiner G. Hubbard"O.C. Green"Elvin Griffin"Honorary Appraisers' The appraisers placed a value of $15,000 on the 6 3/4 acres of cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by William Hornaday to the Secretaries of the Smithsonian and the Zoo Park Commission 7/1/1889 'Sir:"I have the honor to submit the following report in regard to the conduct of negociations for the purchase of land for the site of the Zoological Park up to this date:"..."The Colored Cemetery."The Board of Directors of the Association owning this Cemetery promised to meet yesterday, fix a price on the narrow strip of almost worthless land wanted from the Cemetery, and also to estimate the cost of moving the few bodies that would require removal (75 to 100). So far this action has not been taken, and I am unable to report the price which will be asked for said strip. I have been assured by the President of the Association, Mr. Clark, that no objection will be made to said strip being taken at whatever real estate authorities may consider it worth, and that there will be no trouble whatever about moving the bodies if the actual cost of the labor of moving them is provided for in the price of the land. It is thought by some of the parties interested that on that particular strip the resurrectionists have left few bodies to remove."The most of the strip desired (about 2 1/2 acres) is a wet hollow, wholly unused up to date, but admirably adapted for the growth of trees to form a thick screen between the park and cemetery. I would respectfully suggest that said strip be included in the park, 2 1/2 acres more or less, and that the representative of the Commission be empowered to negotiate for its purchase, (including the cost of moving the bodies, and also moving the fence over to the new line, in the price of the ground), if it can be effected at a cost not exceeding $4000; and in case said land cannot be obtained, free from graves, and with the fence on the new line, for that sum, or less, then it shall be acquired by condemnation and official appraisement."It is quite possible that the land can be secured as desired for $3000, or $3500. ...==Very respectfully submitted,"W.Hornaday' Hornaday suggested buying cemetery land (c. 2 1/2 acres for $3000-4000) for use as a screen to the NZP. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report of the Zoological Park Commission meeting, regarding the acquisition of cemetery land 7/2/1889 'At a meeting of the Zoological Park Commission, held on Tuesday, July 2nd, 1889, the three Commissioners being present, it was"Resolved: That the Director of the Geological Survey is authorized and requested to locate a second line, running through the Colored Cemetery, upon the boundary indicated upon the Commissioners map; to locate a supplementary line to the west of that now run, such as will include ninety acres of the Evans property; and to resurvey the boundary line of the Park where it crosses the northeast corner of Woodley Park, and locate it permanently along the eastern side of the crest of the ridge."Resolved: That in case the owners of the Colored Cemetery estimate the value of this property at a price of not over 4000 dollars, and consent to the necessary removal of the graves already thereon, this lot shall be taken and included in the Zoological Park. ...==John W. Noble"Secretary of the Interior, Chairman"J.W. Douglass"Chief Commissioner of the District"S.P. Langley"Secretary of the Smithsonian"and Secretary of the Commission' The Commissioners resolved to purchase 1.7 acres of cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Secretary Langley from William Hornaday, regarding acquisition of cemetery land 7/18/1889 'Professor S.P. Langley,"Commissioners, etc."Dear Sir:"... An important move is on foot in regard to the Cemetery - or rather the 4 1/2 acres not to be included in the Park. The Cliffourne people sent a representative (Mr. Austin P. Brown) to see whether the Commissioners cannot be induced to include all the Cemetery in the Park, urging the fact that it is impossible for anyone but the government to acquire the place and that only under the powers granted by our Act. I stated the views and the position of the Commissioners in the matter, and advised the Cliffbourn representative to have his people form a 'pool', raise the money necessary to pay for the 4 1/2 acres remaining, (about $10,000) and turn it over to the Commission to enable them to take the balance of the Cemetery and make it a portion of the Park. This was treated lightly at first, but very soon the representative came down to business, and (informally) offered to raise half the money necessary if the Commission would pay the other half and take the ground. I declared that would not do, and that they must raise it all, which would even then leave the Commission trouble enough in the matter."Finding he could do no better, Mr. Brown set out to try to raise the $10,000, and I think has raised, or had promised, nearly $6,000. I greatly fear he will not succeed in raising over $7,000 or $8,000 at the outside. If 8000, that would leave $7000 for the Commission to pay toward the Cemetery, provided it should be appraised at the figures put upon it by the Honorary Appraisers - $15,000. I had an interview with Secretary Noble in regard to the matter, knowing his aversion to doing anything with the Cemetery, and he declared his own willingness to meet the Cliffourne people half way provided the appropriation will permit of its being done. I have therefore told the Cliffbourners to go on and raise all the money they possibly can by the time you return, and if they get as much as $8000 you may find it possible to meet their wishes. They talk about getting up a petition to the Commission, but I tell them a popular subscription will be more effective. ..."Yours very respectfully,"W. Hornaday' Neighbors to the cemetery requested the Commissioners to purchase the entire cemetery tract because of the difficulty of selling it to any private developer. Although the Cliffborne [neighborhood] Association raised some of the necessary money, the NZP did not acquire more than the original 1.7 acres of cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to the Zoological Park Commissioners from the neighborhood, re: purchase of cemetery land 9/1/1889 'The undersigned citizens and residents of the District of Columbia, (some of whom reside in the vicinity of where the Zoological Park is to be located) respectfully petition your honorable body to embrace within the area of said Park the burial ground commonly known as 'The Young Men's Baptist Cemetery'."Your petitioners make this request because the health and lives of the employees of the Park, of its residents, of its animals, and of its thousand of visitors will be constantly imperiled if it is allowed to remain, as they are convinced that the ground water, and air (for a considerable distance around the said cemetery) are polluted and poisoned from its decaying bodies."Appended hereto for your information is a copy of the petition to the District Commissioners. Should the charges set forth therein be established upon investigation, there is no doubt, (in the minds of your petitioners) that your honorable body will feel compelled to embrace this polluted ground within the area of the Park, and cause the bodies therein buried to be removed.'==[The appended petition listed several reports on the presence of harmful bacteria around cemeteries, polluting the soil and water and emitting harmful gases into the air. Several reports from France and England were given for comparison.]" Citizens worried about the harmful effects of living near cemetery grounds, petitioned the Zoological Park Commission to purchase the abandoned Young Men's Baptist Cemetery and disinter the bodies. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by the Commissioners of the Zoological Park, re: acquisition of cemetery land 11/18/1889 'At a meeting of the Zoological Park Commission, held today, the three Commissioners being present, the Secretary reported that the Director of the Geological Survey had, in accordance with the instructions of the Commission, executed the second line, including a portion of the Colored Cemetery, giving an additional area of 1.7 acres. The owners of the Cemetery will not name any price, but give informal assurance that they are not only willing but anxious to have the Government take the land and fix a value, and that they are prepared in advance to accept the award of condemnation. The value fixed on the property by the Honorary Appraisers was $15,000 for the 6.75 acres, or at the rate of somewhat less than $4,000 for the 1.7 acres, supposing that this land were as good as that averaged upon (which it is not)."In regard to the Evans property, as has already been stated, ... it seems extremely desirable that this western boundary, arranged to include the picturesque highland of the Park, should be preserved. ...==Resolved: That the resolutions heretofore passed by this Commission in relation to said survey and map, except so far as herein now modified, are affirmed; and that this Commission does now accept approve and adopt the survey and map now presented today, and which it directs to be certified to on the face thereof by the members of this Commission as the map of said Zoological Park, mentioned and required to be made by the Commission by said Act of Congress.'" The Commissioners resolved to acquire 1.7 acres of cemetery land in November 1889, and agreed to the boundaries determined by the Geological Survey [recorded in map form]. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Samuel P. Langley Diary entry, re: cemetery acquisition 11/18/1889 "At a meeting of the zoological Park Commission, held today, the three Commissioners being present, the Secretary reported that the Director of the Geological Survey had, in accordance with the instructions of the Commission, executed the second line, including a portion of the Colored Cemetery, giving an additional area of 1.7 acres. The owners of the Cemetery will not name any price, but give informal assurance that they are not only willing but anxious to have the Government take the land and fix a value, and that they are prepared in advance to accept the award of condemnation. The value fixed on the property by the Honorary Appraisers was $15000 for the 6.75 acres, or at the rate of somewhat less than $4000 for the 1.7 acres, supposing that this land were as good as that averaged upon (which it is not)." The Zoological Park Commission agreed to purchase 1.7 acres of cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 289, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from Charles Shorter, Secretary, to William Webb, Attorney, re: cemetery 12/11/1889 "Webb & Webb
406 5th Street City
Washington DC
December 11, 1889

Gentlemen,

In response to yours of December 10, 1889 inquiring as to the Young Mens Cemetery, I am instructed by the president of our Association to give the desired information. The "Mount Pleasant Plains Cemetery" was purchased by "The Colored Union Benevolent Association", the deed is recorded Liber No. 614, folio 249.

Very respectfully,
Charles H. Shorter
Secretary
1804 T Street"

The cemetery owned by the Union Benevolent Association was known by several different names, including Young Mens Cemetery and the Mount Pleasant Plains Cemetery. The deed transfer he referred to stipulated the terms for repaying the mortgage on the cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 48, Folder 13 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from Charles Shorter, Secretary, to William Webb, Attorney, re: cemetery acquisition 12/16/1889 "Messrs. Webb & Webb

The Colored Union Benevolent Association
Washington, DC, Dec. 16, 1889

Gentlemen,

Referring to yours of the 14th instant I have to reply that a deed of trust was given to secure the balance due after first payment on cemetery a release from which was given and is recorded in Liber 658, folio 120 - no other. Four of the trustees to whom the property was deeded are living. Gurdon Snowden is dead. Trustees are elected annually by the Association. The trustees at present are, Henry Logan, Anthony Hickman, Hamilton Martin, Charles H. Shorter, Hilliory Davis. Mr. Joseph Shorter having declined to serve is not now a trustee.

Very respectfully,
C.H. Shorter
1804 T Street"

A deed of trust for 1.7 acres of cemetery land was given to the Zoo by the trustees of the Union Benevolent Association. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 48, Folder 13 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Title Search done by H. Randall Webb, Attorney, re: Union Benevolent Association Cemetery 12/17/1889 "Title to the Young Men's Baptist Cemetery
I have continued the examinations of the title to this tract of land, since its acquisition by Trustees from Charles Francis Adams in April 1870, and find the same good in them and the survivor or survivors of them for the purposes described in the said deed of conveyance, Liber 630 folio 382. One of the said Trustees, Gurdon Snowdon is dead, the rest are living. Taxes not examined.
H. Randall Webb"

(Attached is an accounting of the title transfers over the years.)

Mr. Webb, an attorney employed by the Zoological Park Commission, traced the title changes to the cemetery parcel. The deed he referred to was the original deed between Charles Francis Adams and the Union Benevolent Association. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 49, Folder 12 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from William Webb, Attorney, to Samuel P. Langley, SI Secretary, re: Zoo land acquisitions 6/26/1890 "Dear Sir:
Since our conversation a few days ago, I have made two vain attempts to have an interview with Secretary Noble. I was very desirous to place my view before him personally. On Monday morning I was seized with an attack, incident I suppose to the hot weather, and some careless indulgence in the good things of the season, and have since been entirely unfit for business. It is very important in some respects that action should be had upon the award made by the appraisers under the order of the Court. Several of the owners have assented to the award and have signified their willingness to convey their property to the United States, and as far as those parties are concerned the Court has confirmed the return of the appraisers.

I send you enclosed, a copy of the paper showing the consent of the parties and the order of the Court made thereon. These papers do not include the property taken from the colored people's cemetery nor the land of Pacificus Ord; in the first of these cases I shall ask for a special order, approving the amount awarded for the land and declaring the award for the cost of removing the bodies as without the jurisdiction of the appraisers, and its confirmation therefore is not within the power of the Court. ...

You will remember that I told you in our last conversation in respect to Secretary Noble's suggestion that the Attorney for the United States should be applied to to file exceptions to the award in the Cemetery case, that I did not think the Court had any jurisdiction in the matter of this return which would authorize it to entertain exceptions. It certainly has no jurisdiction by the terms of the statute and I do not think that this jurisdiction can be inferred from the other duties assigned to the Court, for the reason that the statute in express terms provides that the return is to be submitted to the President of.the United States, and that until he signifies that he deems the values fixed by the return of the appraisers reasonable, no money can be paid for the property, and no title acquired thereto by the United States. In this connection I would say that when I applied to the Judge for the enclosed order, I discussed this question with Mr. Justice James, who holds the United States District Court in this District, and he agrees with me perfectly as to my views on the subject after a careful examination of the statute. ... W.B. Webb, Counsel for the Zoological Park Commission"

Mr. Webb felt that the assessment for removal of remains should be judged separately from the appraisal of the cemetery land being purchased by the Zoo. SI Archives, RU 49, Folder 8 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
The Board of Regents Annual Report for the Smithsonian Institution, re: NZP boundaries 7/1/1890 p. 37-38"'A careful consideration of the property in the neighborhood of Rock Creek, described in the act of March 2, 1889, had been made and an area of 166.48 acres selected. The difficulty of establishing the boundaries of certain tracts described in the older deeds caused a long delay, bu the survey was finally completed on the 21st of November, 1889."The following list shows the tracts in detail and the amount eventually to be paid for each:
"Lands for the National Zoological Park"
OwnerAcresAmount paidHow obtained"
Miss A.E.J. Evans94.050$94,800agreement"
H.D. Walbridge14.450$14,450 Do."
Woodley Park Syndicate7.453$ 5,875Do."
Henry C. Holt13.360$40,000Do."
Mrs. M. Caney1.440$ 3,000Do."
Mrs. E.L. Dunn et al.392$ 170.76Do."
Pacificus Ord24.570$16,836.48condemnation"
J.P. Klinge6.180$ 9,270Do."
Union Benevolent Assoc.1.700$ 3,000Do."
E.E. Hayden.670$ 1,897Do."
McPherson & Finley.315$ 1,372Do."
James Kervand1.060$ 233.10Do."
United States (Quarry Rd).846 Do."
Total166.486$190,964.34"..."

The site thus selected is, it is believed, admirably suited for the purpose for which it is designed. Situated at a convenient distance from the city in a region of remarkable natural beauty, it has a surface of great variety, offering unusual advantages of varied exposure for animals requiring different treatment. While some portions still retain the original forest, others are cleared or covered by a dense second growth of pine, excellent for cover and producing conditions similiar to those of the natural haunts of many of the animals it is proposed to preserve. An abundant supply of water is furnished to the lower portions by Rock Creek, a small perennial stream that during freshets swells to considerable size, and at intervals of years, to rare but destructive floods. A number of small runlets or 'branches' fall into the creek giving an effective drainage to all parts of the park. The system of water ways has for the most part been cut by erosion, so that the hill-sides and valleys usually present smooth, rounded slopes, practicable for roads and walks;'"

The NZP site, consisting of 166.486 acres in 1889-90, was selected for its natural beauty and convenience of recreating the natural habitat for many of the animals. SI Archives, Series of Annual Reports for the Smithsonian Institution Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from William Webb, Attorney, to Frank Baker, re: disinterment of bodies 7/8/1890 "Dear Sir,
I had an interview this afternoon with Secretary Noble, and he wants a statement of all the expenditures made and to be made, so as to see exactly what the expenditures will accomplish. This is with view to making some arrangement with the colored people about the removing of the bodies in the cemetery. Perhaps if convenient you had better come and see me.
Yours truly
W.B. Webb"
Considerations were made to reimburse the Union Benevolent Association for removal of remains from land purchased by the Zoo. SI Archives, RU 49, Folder 8 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from Charles Shorter, Secretary, to William Webb, Attorney, re: cemetery acquisition 7/25/1890 "W.B. Webb Esquire

Sir, I immediately set about getting the information referred to in your communication received today and today was put in possession of a rough estimate. The amount of unoccupied ground for burial purposes 20.603 square feet, believed to be quite sufficient for all bodies to be moved. Of course it is not known how many persons owning lots or single graves will not care to have their dead moved temporarily, but may prefer to settle the matter at this time. I wait to hear from you before the meeting of the Association to consider the agreement. Let me here call your attention to the fact that the public who was informed of the amount of $5000 have not been informed of this having miscarried, and also to the fact that this is not mentioned in the agreement.

Very respectfully,
Charles Shorter
Secretary
Colored Union Benevolent Association"

An early purchase price of $5000 for cemetery land was rejected by the Zoo. Note that the Union Benevolent Association considered moving remains from land purchased by the Zoo to a different section of the cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 48, Folder 13 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Board Meeting Minutes, regarding the NZP's purchase of cemetery land 7/26/1890 'The Secretary of the Interior, as Chairman, having called a meeting of the Board for two o'clock PM, today, the Commissioners met at his office at that hour. There were present: The Secretary of the Interior, the President of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and Mr. G. Brown Goode, Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, who represented Professor Langley, the latter being absent in Europe. The Honorable W.B. Webb, Attorney for the Commission, was also present at the request of the Chairman..."The Chairman stated to the Board that some complication had arisen in regard to the condemnation of the property in the Colored Cemetery; that the commissioners to make appraisement, in considering the value of this land, had originally reported that there should be paid $2000 for the property, and $3000 for the removal of the bodies therefrom; that upon further consideration thereof, it was deemed that so much of the action of those Commissioners as attempted to pay for the removal of bodies was beyond their power or the purpose of their appointment; that thereupon the Commissioners had requested the Court to allow them to file a supplemental report; that they did file such supplemental report saying that: 'Considering all the circumstances attending the condemnation of the said parcel of land, we have determined the fair value thereof to be three thousand dollards.'"That in connection with this report and in consideration of assent, it is contemplated that an agreement will be entered into by the Colored Union Benevolent Association, claiming to be the owners of said cemetery, and this Board of Commissioners, to the effect that said appropriation shall be paid $2000 of the $3000 mentioned in the report, for the land, and the extra thousand only upon the removal of bodies from the portion of the Cemetery condemned for the use of the Park, the removal to take place within a short period of time to be mentioned in the agreement."Thereupon, on motion of Mr. Douglass, it was Resolved: That the Chairman of the Board is hereby authorized to enter into any agreement to the general effect and purport mentioned in the foregoing statement, for the purpose of having the bodies removed from said Park, for the consideration of one thousand dollars, and that this resolution is intended further to empower the Chairman of the Board to make said agreement on such terms, in such way, and to such extent generally as to carry into effect the general purpose above expressed. Approved: Chairman.' The Board officials resolved to lower the payment given to the Union Benevolent Association for their land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 289, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum of Agreement between the Colored Union Benevolent Association and the NZP Commission 8/15/1890 "Memorandum of Agreement made this Fifteenth day of August, 1890 by and between Charles H. Shorter, on behalf of the Trustees of the Colored Benevolent Association, and authorized to act for such association of the first part and John W. Noble, as Secretary of the Interior and President of the Commission appointed by the Act of Congress approved March 2, 1889, to establish a Zoological Park in the District of Columbia and authorized by resolution of the said Commission to enter into this agreement.

Whereas the said Commission in the exercise of the powers and duties conferred upon it by the aforesaid Act of Congress did select for the purposes of the said Zoological Park a portion of the land held by said Benevolent Association as and for a cemetery.

And whereas the said part of said cemetery so selected contains a number of dead bodies that have been interred therein from time to time, and whereas said part of said cemetery cannot be used for the purposes of said Park until the said bodies are removed. And whereas the commissioners appointed by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia to appraise and value the lands taken for said Park, in appraising the value of the said part of the said cemetery have made such appraisement in such manner and for such a sum as to include the cost of the removal of the dead bodies so as aforesaid interred therein said cost being estimated at one thousand dollars. And whereas it is right and proper that the said parties of the second part shall be assured that the said bodies will be removed without any further cost and charge to them as commissioners as aforesaid.

Now it is hereby agreed on the part of the said parties of the first part hereto that so much of the sum appraised as the value of the part of the said cemetery taken for the purpose of the said Zoological Park as may be necessary to pay the cost and expense of the removal of the said dead bodies interred thereon not to exceed one thousand dollars shall be expended for that purpose and that purpose only, and that the said sum of one thousand dollars, part of said appraisement shall be retained by the said Commissioners until they are satisfied that the said bodies have been removed, and shall then and not until then be paid to the said parties hereto of the first part.

In testimony whereof we have signed and sealed these presents as and for the said Benevolent Association and the said Commissioners for the establishment of a Zoological Park."

The Zoological Park Commission purchased part of the cemetery from the Colored Union Benevolent Association. The official document transferring land from the Union Benevolent Association to the Zoo was signed by "Charles H. Shorter, Secretary Colored Union Benevolent Association and John W. Noble, As Secretary of the Interior and President of the Commission for Establishment of Zoological Park. This document does not specify which parcel of land was purchased by the NZP. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from John Noble, Secretary of Interior, to W.B. Webb, Attorney, re: cemetery acquisition 8/19/1890 "Dear Sir:
There is herewith returned to you the order of the President, dated August the 19th, approving the appraisement at the full value of $3,000 for the parcel of land held in trust by the Colored Benevolent Society as a cemetery, together with certified copy of the order of the Supreme Court for the District of Columbia, and a memorandum of an agreement made the 15th day of August, 1890, by the trustees of the same Society and the Secretary of the Interior, which you will please dispose of as by law required, and see that the contract is duly carried into effect.
Yours truly,
John Noble
Secretary of the Interior and Chairman of Commission"
The cemetery land acquired by the Zoo was appraised at $3,000 and authorization was given to purchase it at that price. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 49, Folder 8 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from Charles Shorter, Secretary, to William Webb, Attorney, re: cemetery acquisition 8/28/1890 "Mr. Webb,

I enclose the law under which the Association is chartered. I think you will decide the Association has the right and power to convey property. I will call at 12.30 but hope the Auditor does not require the deed for this will necessitate delay. The association has maintained from the beginning it would sell the property and are far from being of one mind as to the amount to be paid. The trustees must be instructed before the paper and deed can be signed.

Charles Shorter"

The Zoo purchased 1.7 acres of cemetery land from the Union Benevolent Association. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 48, Folder 13 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Charles H. Shorter from Frank Baker, regarding purchase of cemetery land 9/20/1890 'Mr. Charles H. Shorter"Trustee Union Benevolent Association" Pension Office==My dear Sir,"Mr. Webb informs me the $2,000 of the money awarded for the portion of the cemetery belonging to the Union Benevolent Association condemned for the National Zoological Park will be paid to you at once. We have already been waiting for a long time to fence in the property and are anxious that the bodies shall be removed from the Park with as little delay as is consistent with propriety."If you can do so I hope you will perfect your arrangements so that the removal will commence on Monday. The season is rapidly passing and we are losing much excellent working weather. It will be a great obligation to us if you will hasten the matter as much as you possibly can."Very respectfully,"Frank Baker"Acting Manager'" The NZP acquired part of the cemetery for $2,000. The specific location and acreage are not indicated in the letter. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 7, Director's Outgoing Correspondence, Vol. July 1889 - Oct 1890, p. 428 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Charles Shorter from Frank Baker regarding the disinterment of bodies 9/24/1890 'Mr. Charles H. Shorter"Trustee Union Benevolent Association"1804 T Street NW==Sir,"Referring further to the subject of the removal of the bodies from that portion of the cemetery of the Union Benevolent Association purchased for the National Zoological Park I would say that it will greatly expedite our work if you will first have them removed along the line where we wish to put the fence. If a strip four or five feet wide were first prepared we could erect the fence and you could remove the remaining bodies more at your convenience. I will be very much obliged if you will make arrangements at once to have this done. Suitable gaps can be left in the fence so that you may not be embarrassed about the future work."Very respectfully yours,"Frank Baker"Acting Manager'" The Union Benevolent Association was to make arrangements for the disinterment of bodies from land the NZP purchased. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 7, Director's Outgoing Correspondence, Vol. July 1889 - Oct. 1890, p.436 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from William Webb, Attorney, to Frank Baker, re: cemetery acquisition 10/8/1890 "Dear Sir,
Enclosed I send a rough copy of the agreement with the cemetery company attest so as be [sic.] an exact copy of the agreement as filed in Court. I should like to have it again unless you want it for some purpose. Now that Judge James has returned I think it will be wise to have the said matter completed.
Yours truly,
W. B. Webb"
The Zoo purchased 1.7 acres of cemetery land from the Union Benevolent Association. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 49, Folder 8 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Frank Baker from William Webb, Attorney, regarding the disinterment of bodies 12/8/1890 'Dr Frank Baker"Dear Sir,"William Shorter the Secretary of the Colored Benevolent Society informs me that the removal of the bodies from the cemetery is accomplished. Of course if this is so the Society is entitled to the money released [?] in Court. Will you do me the favor to inform me officially that the work of removal is completed so that I may get an order of Court."Yours Truly,"William B. Webb' Letter states that disinterment may have been completed for the NZP by December 1890. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to John Noble, NZP, from W.B. Webb, attorney for the Commission, re: land conveyance 12/23/1890 'Hon. John W. Noble"President Zoological Park Commission.==Sir:"As the attorney for the Commission I beg leave to submit the following statement from which it will appear that the titles, to the several parcels of land, selected for the purposes of the Park, under and in compliance with the terms of the Act of Congress approved March 2nd, 1889 have been fully completed and are now vested in the United States. All of the parties interested in the lands mentioned accepted the price offered by the Commission or assessed by the Commissioners selected to value them, except the Union Benevolent Association, J.L. Kervand and Pacificus Ord."Of these the first was an incorporated Association and held the lands upon such conditions as did not authorize it to make a conveyance for any purpose, having indeed no power of sale; under such circumstances it was deemed best to require the money allowed as the value of the land to be paid in to the Registry of the Court. In this case the assessment of the land embraced the cost of the removal of the bodies interred thereon in its character as a Cemetery, and it was deemed best that one thousand dollars of the award made to this Association should be retained in the hands of the Court until satisfactory evidence was given that the bodies mentioned had been removed. Accordingly on the 15th. of August last an agreement embracing the provisions mentioned was executed by yourself as President of the Zoological Commission and the proper officer of the Union Benevolent Association. On the 22nd. of September last two thousand dollars was paid to the Treasurer of the Benevolent Association upon an order of the Court and on the 16th of December last the remaining one thousand dollars was paid to the same officer upon an order of the Court based upon a letter from the Secretary of the Commission from which it appeared that the bodies had been satisfactorily removed..."With profound respect"Your Obedient Servant"W.B. Webb"Attorney for the Commission' The NZP paid the Union Benevolent Association $3,000 for the cemetery parcel of land. SI Archives, RU 31, Box 78, Folder 1 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter from Charles Shorter, Secretary, to William Webb, Attorney, re: disinterments 8/1/1891 "W.B. Webb Esq.
Sir,

At a meeting of the Association held on this date it was decided that the Secretary be instructed and empowered to enter into the agreement proposed providing permission be given for the removal of the bodies to another part of the Cemetery.

Respectfully,
Charles Shorter
Secretary
Colored Union Benevolent Association"

The Union Benevolent Association proposed moving remains from land acquired by the Zoo to another portion of the cemetery. SI Archives, RU 74, Folder 13 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Proposed Amendment to H.R. Bill 8428 given by Senator Perkins, re: purchase of cemetery land 1/1/1898 'That a Commission, to consist of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the President of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and the Engineer Commissioner of said Board, is hereby authorized and empowered to acquire, by purchase or condemnation, in the same manner as was adopted for the acquirement of property already embraced in the National Zoological Park under the provision of the Act of March 2, 1889, the tract of land lying south of the National Zoological Park, owned by the Union Benevolent Association of the District of Columbia (colored) and the said Park and between its present boundaries and Connecticut Avenue, extended, on the west, and the nearest road shown on the recorded highway extension plans of the first section on the east and south (inclusive of such road in case the same is not yet dedicated to public use) as they shall deem necessary for preserving its safety and perpetuating its seclusion; these properties, along with Joliet Street, already purchased, to be made a part of the said park, for which purpose the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars is hereby appropriated, to be paid half out of the District funds and half out of the United States funds. The Union Benevolent Association of the District of Columbia (colored) is hereby authorized to sell and convey any portion or all of the tract of land owned by them in the southern side of the Zoological Park now occupied as a cemetery.' This proposed amendment was intended to give the NZP authority to purchase land from the Union Benevolent Association. See entry of attached letter addressed to Professor Langley dated March 23, 1898. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 125, Folder 6 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Secretary Langley from John Ross, Board of Commissioners, re: purchase of cemetery land 3/23/1898 'Prof. S.P. Langley,"Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.==Dear Sir:"I have the honor to enclose you herewith, for your information, a copy of a proposed substitute for H.R. Bill 9242 [no longer attached], and the amendment intended to be proposed by Senator Perkins to H.R. Bill 8428, relative to the purchase or condemnation of a tract of land adjacent to the National Zoological Park. The Commissioners have transmitted a copy of this proposed substitute to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia and to Hon. D.H. Mercer, Chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds of the House of Representatives, with recommendation for favorable action thereon."On Tuesday last, Mr. Walbridge stated that it was necessary that a report be made at once, in order that the amendment might be included in the Sundry Civil Bill, and the accompanying draft of a clause for such bill was prepared by Capt. Burr, Assistant to the Engineer Commissioner; and, on Mr. Walbridge's recommendation, the papers were transmitted to the Committees yesterday morning, by messenger. But for these representations for the necessity for early action, the Commissioners would have submitted the draft to you before transmitting the same, but they understand that it is in accordance with your own views."Very respectfully,"John W. Ross,"President,"Board of Commissioners, DC.' An amendment to a bill was presented to the Congress by Senator Perkins to allow the NZP to acquire additional cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 125, Folder 6 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Early 1900's
Letter to [unknown recipient] from Secretary Langley regarding the extension of NZP boundaries 10/11/1901 'Sir,"I have just learned that the Park Commission is likely to take up soon the question of changes desirable to be made in the boundary of the National Zoological Park, and that the Commission will probably wish to confer with you concerning the matter."It seems desirable, therefore, to make a brief resume of the action which has been taken in this direction up to the present time."In March, 1892, an amendment was propsed to the sundry civil bill to appropriate $75,000 for extending the boundaries of the National Zoological Park; this amount to be expended under a commission composed of the Secretary of the Interior, the President of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. A copy of this proposed amendment is herewith enclosed, market 'A'."The Secretary, in his report for the year ending June 30, 1894, mentions the desirability of adding to the Park a strip of ground along the eastern boundary between the Adams Mill Road and Kenesaw Avenue. A copy of this statement is also enclosed, marked 'B'."The Secretary's annual report for 1895 considers at greater length several tracts which it is desired to add to the Park and states the amount of land which would be secured by these various additions; also quotes a letter from Messrs. Olmsted, Olmsted and Elliot with regard to the importance of obtaining this land. This portion of the Secretary's report for 1895 is herewith enclosed, marked 'C'."The Secretary's annual report for 1896 again calls attention to the need of adjusting the boundary to the newly devised system of highways and mentions the desirability of taking a strip between the Park and Connecticut Avenue extended in addition to the tracts previously considered. The Secretary also states here that only a part of the colored cemetery would need to be acquired as a roadway could, to advantage, be established through the cemetery. This portion of the Secretary's annual report for 1896, with the accompanying map, is herewith enclosed, marked 'D'."The Secretary's annual report for 1898 mentions measures introduced into Congress during the previous session to secure the readjustment of the boundary and gives the text of the bill introduced by Senator Gallinger. This portion of the Secretary's annual report for 1898 is also enclosed, marked 'E'. [cont. next entry]"The Park Commission considered extending the boundary lines of the NZP in 1901, possibly to include more cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 17 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to [unknown recipient] from Secretary Langley regarding the extension of NZP boundary 10/11/1901 [cont. from previous entry]"'I further enclose copy of a letter from the Secretary of the District Commissioners quoting the statement of Mr. William P. Richards, Assistant Engineer of the District of Columbia, that the road which was proposed along the eastern side of the Park from Adams Mill Road to Kenesaw Avenue no longer has legal existence. This letter is marked 'F'."A sketch map showing the boundaries as they now exist accompanies the other papers submitted; it is marked 'G'. This map also shows the tracts which it seems desirable to have added to the Park. The special reasons for including these areas within the Park may be stated succinctly as follows:"Area No. 1: ... [area near the bear yards]"Area No. 2: This includes a part of the cemetery that now bounds the Park on the south. It is highly desirable that this should be at once abolished. No interments have been allowed here for several years and it becomes more and more unpleasant as dwelling houses are built around it. It will undoubtedly be removed within a few years and if some action is not taken the property will be sold as building lots which would back against the Park presenting a very disagreeable aspect."Area No. 3: ... [tract along Connecticut Ave.]"You will observe that if the Park is enlarged to the limits shown by this map it will be bounded for nearly its whole extent by permanent roadways. The only exception is on the southeast where from the Adams Mill Road to the Quarry Road an arbitary line has been drawn. I have fixed this line after consultation with District officers. I am informed that, if the Park boundary is established along the line indicated, a roadway will without doubt be eventually authorized along this boundary also so that the entire tract will then be separated from surrounding property by roadways."The changes that have been made in the boundaries of the Park and in the location of neighboring street have modified the areas that it is wished to enclose so that they no longer correspond to those formerly recommended by you to Congress. They are, however, somewhat less."I have not attempted to calculate them exactly as I have not the data immediately at my disposal. In case you approve the scheme I will ask the District authorities to furnish me officially with the areas. Very respectfully yours, Supperintendent. Mr. S.P. Langley, Secretary.' Secretary Langley felt that the NZP boundaries should be extended to ensure that no private properties adjoined the Park directly. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 17 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Senator Platt from Secretary S.P. Langley, regarding the purchase of cemetery land 4/29/1902 'Dear Senator Platt:"I have yours of April 28, enclosing the letter of Mr. Robert L. Longstreet, about the colored cemetery. The removal of this, or its attachment to the Park, is not of so much interest to this, as to private property holders. I do not mean that it is a matter of absolute indifference to the Park, but it seems best to leave it to those whose private interests it is to urge it, rather than to the Park itself, which has so many more pressing claims."Very truly yours,"S.P. Langley"Secretary==The Honorable O.H. Platt,"Regent of the Smithsonian Institution,"United States Senate' Secretary Langley was not interested in acquiring further cemetery land for the NZP. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to A.H. O'Connor, Ass't City Solicitor, from Mr. Richards, Engineering Dept, re: road 6/10/1902 'File No. 18083-31==City Solicitor,"A.H. O'Connor, Ass't.==States that order has been passed appointing commissioners to appraise value of land to be taken for widening Adams Mill Road, and asks for names of witnesses to testify as to damages and benefits.' Commissioners were to appraise the value of land including parts of the cemetery which was being affected from widening Adams Mill Road. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to the Commissioners of DC from A.B. Duvall, Corporation Counsel, re: Adams Mill Road 7/1/1902 'Hon. Commissioners"District of Columbia==Gentlemen:==I have the honor to inform you that the Jury of condemnation (three commissioners) in re: widening of the Adams Mill Road entrance to the Zoological Park (No. 589 District Court) have made their report and award as follows, viz:==1. Value of the real estate, Parcel No. 1 (the cemetery land) $3,033.50, and the further sum of $550.00 for damages by way of allowance for the removal from said parcel of thirty seven bodies and the re-interment of said bodies.==2. Value of the real estate, Parcel No. 2, $260.00.==3. Value of the real estate, Parcel No. 3, $2,244.38.==If this award is satisfactory to you, I will move the Court to confirm the same.==Very Respectfully,"A.B. Duvall"Corporation Counsel" The value of land and costs for reinterment of 37 bodies from the Young Men's Baptist Cemetery were determined by the Corporation Counsel. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Pubic Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note, regarding the widening of Adams Mill Road 7/3/1902 'No. 18083/32==Duvall, A.B."Corporation Counsel==Information in regard to the condemnation of land for the widening of Adams Mill Road entrance to the Zoological Park.==1 Endorsement"July 3, 1902"Respectfully forwarded to the Engineer Commissioner DC with the opinion that this award is a fair one and recommending that the Corporation Counsel be authorized to ask for a confirmation."W.P. Richards,"Assistant Engineer==2 Endorsement"July 8, 1902"Respectfully referred to the Corporation Counsel for action as recommended in 1st Endorsement."By order,"Secretary==3 Endorsement"July 9, 1902"Respectfully returned. As directed, I have made the motion to confirm the award, in re: widening of Adams Mill Road (No. 589, District Court)."A.B. Duvall"Corporation Counsel.==July 10, 1902"Engineer Department"Mr. Richards' The assessment of $550 to remove and reinter thirty-seven bodies from the Young Men's Baptist Cemetery for the widening of Adams Mill Road was accepted. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Frank Baker from Robert Longstreet, Superintendent, re: purchase of cemetery land 11/18/1902 'Dr. Baker"Superintendent N. Zoological Park==My dear Sir,"Some time ago I wrote you about the matter of the improvement of the Park approaches and entrance at Adams Mill Road."I also wrote the Commissioners of the District on this matter and they have agreed to recommend the appropriation of $9,000 for the improvement of Adams Mill Road and the same has been incorporated in their estimates for the coming fiscal year."It seems to me that it would be a good plan to work up your end of the line at the same time while the issue is hot and I beg leave to suggest that you write Prof. Langley or place an item in your estimates for the coming fiscal year for the purchase of the abandoned colored cemetery at the entrance to the 'Zoo'. If this recommendation appears in any of your annual reports please send me a copy of said report marked, if it has been recommended by letter separately to Prof. Langley or any of the Committees of Congress would you kindly send me a copy of same. I feel sure something can be done at this Session, but it should be started in the proper way."The matter might be brought to the attention of the proper Committee of Congress by a letter from you to Prof. Langley directing his attention to the desirability of the purchase of the cemetery for incorporation in the 'Zoo' before further building developments in that locality - which is fast filing up, shall have made the land so much more expensive."If you can take the matter up I feel sure of being able to 'help' and would like a copy of your letter on the subject."I am interested in two corners in that locality and will undertake to grade and improve the locality - if the gov. authorities will cooperate in asking the aid of Congress for this share. It would be useless for private parties to try and improve the environment if the above mentioned nuisance is to continue thence in its present shape."Respectfully,"Robert L. Longstreet' Mr. Longstreet urged the NZP to purchase the remaining cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Frank Baker from Robert Longstreet, Superintendent, re: purchase of cemetery land 12/9/1902 'Dear Sir,"In reply to your letter of November 18, I would say that the question of adding to the Park the portion of the old cemetery was mentioned by the Secretary in his report to the Board of Regents for the year ending June 30, 1896, a copy of which is mailed to you herewith."You will notice that it was not considered necessary to acquire for the Park the entire area of the cemetery, as it was thought that the end desired might be secured with less expenditure on the part of the Government."The matter was brought before Congress in March and April, 1898, a bill being introduced in the House and also the Senate to appoint a Commission to acquire for the National Zoological Park the cemetery and certain adjacent tracks by purchase or condemnation. The bill provided for the appropriation of $25,000 for this purpose. This bill passed the Senate, but, in the House, was referred to the Committee of the Whole and never reported."Very truly yours,"Superintendent"Mr. Robert L. Longstreet,"The Cumberland,"Washington, DC' The NZP considered it not necessary to acquire the entire cemetery for inclusion in the park. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note, regarding the removal of a fence along Adams Mill Road 4/21/1903 'No. 18083/43==McPherson, Donald"1102 NY Avenue==Requests that the Commissioners use their influence with the authorities of the Zoological Park to secure the removal of the fence on the east line of the Park, and south of the building line of Clydesdale Place.===1 Endorsement"April 28, 1903"Respectfully forwarded to the Engineer Commissioner DC recommending that the writer be informed that the Commissioners only have authority to request the removal of the Park fence from Adams Mill Road and as the Park authorities have protested against giving any more land for street purposes it is not considered advisable to suggest any modification of the Park boundary."W.P. Richards"Assistant Engineer==2 Endorsement"Respectfully forwarded to the Commissioners, recommending that writer be informed that the Commissioners will have the fence put back on the line of the Zoological Park, but do not consider it advisable to suggest any modification of the Park boundary."John Riddle"Major, Corps of Engineers, USA"Engineer Commissioner, DC' A boundary line dispute along Adams Mill Road was brought to the attention of the Commissioners but not acted upon. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note, regarding grading the banks of Adams Mill Road 6/27/1903 'No. 18083/45==Computing Engineer, DC"Recommends that the banks of the Adams Mill Road, from Columbia Road to the Zoo be graded, at an estimated cost of $950; Chargeable to app'n for said road, 1904.==1st Endorsement"July 6, 1903"Respectfully returned to the Engineer of Highways, recommending that this order be cancelled as the work herein proposed has been given the Contracter having the work for the current year of grading and regulating Suburban Streets, in which schedule is this Adams Mill Road."Morris Hacker"Superintent of Roads' The application for grading the banks along Adams Mill Road were denied by the Engineering Department. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to C.B. Hunt, Engineer of Highways, from Morris Hacker, Sup't of Roads, re: road grading 6/27/1903 'Mr. C.B. Hunt,"Computing Engineer, DC==Sir: I have the honor to recommend that the banks of the Adams Mill Road, from Columbia Road to the Zoo, be graded, at an estimated cost of $950, chargeable to the app'n for 'Adams Mill Road, 1904'."This work is to prepare for the macadamizing of the roadway as provided in the appropriation."Very respectfully,"Morris Hacker"Superintendant of Roads' A request for grading along Adams Mill Road was submitted by the Superintendant of Roads. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Joseph Shorter, Trustee, Union Benevolent Association, from Commission Secretary 7/16/1903 'Mr. Joseph Shorter,"Pension Office, City.==Dear Sir:"The Commissioners of the District of Columbia direct me to notify you that in the process of the work grading Adams Mill Road under a special appropriation made at the last session of Congress will involve the excavation of the portion of the Union Benevolent Association Burying Grounds, which was condemned for the widening of the said road, and to request that your association remove within thirty (30) days from this date the contents of the graves in the ground so taken."Very respectfully,"W. Trudall"Secretary,"Board of Commissioners DC'==[A copy of the same letter was also sent to Gordon Snowden and Charles Shorter, members of the Union Benevolent Association.] Notification of the proposed widening of Adams Mill Road was sent to surviving members of the Union Benevolent Association, requesting that remains be removed from affected areas within one month's time. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to C.B. Hunt, Engineer of Highways, from Morris Hacker, Sup't of Roads, re: road grading 7/9/1903 'Mr. C.B. Hunt,"Engineer of Highways==Sir:"In connection with the improvement of Adams Mill Road between Cincinnati Street and the Zoo Park, it will be necessary to widen the bank on the west side of Adams Mill Road just south of entrance to Zoo. This property forms a part of the Union Benevolent Association Burying Ground, and in the Award by the jury of condemnation of the property on the Adams Mill Road, this Associaiton was awarded damages for the removal of the graves that are within the limits of the street (the west side)."I have the honor to recommend that Joseph Shorter, Pension Office, who is an officer in this Association, be notified that the work of grading this street under the special appropriation granted by last Congress, is now in progress, and that he be requested to have these graves moved within a period of thirty (30) days from date of notification."Very respectfully,"Morris Hacker"Superintendent of Roads' The widening of Adams Mill Road necessitated the removal of remains from the Union Benevolent Association Burying Ground. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note, regarding the widening of Adams Mill Road 7/10/1903 'No. 18083/47==Engineer of Highways"Recommends that the Union Benevolent Association be notified of the proposed widening of the Adams Mill Road, with request that the graves in Cemetery abutting theron be removed.==Respectfully returned to Engineer Department inviting attention to enclosed copies of notices, which were mailed at 10 o'clock a.m. today. at the mail schute in the District Building."W. Trudall"Secretary'" The Engineer Department notified members of the Union Benevolent Association of the proposed widening of Adams Mill Road. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to the Commissioners of DC from W.G. Johnson, Attorney of Union Benevolent Association 7/30/1903 'To the Honorable"The Commissioners of the District of Columbia.==Gentlemen:"Your letter of the 17th July to Mr. Charles H. Shorter, Secretary of the Union Benevolent Association Burying Grounds, has been referred to me by said Secretary for attention, I being the cousel of the said Association in the condemnation proceedings referred to in your said letter."The land was condemned a long time ago for the widening of the Adams Mill Road, but no sufficient fund existing nothing was done towards completing the matter."Since then I understand Congress appropriated the money but it has not been paid or tendered."I have ordered a certificate from the Columbia Title Insurance Company with a view to presenting it to the Commissioners with a request for the completion of the condemnation proceedings but have not yet secured though I have been constantly urging the officials of the company for it."Until the payment of the money the District has not, in my opinion, the right to enter upon the land or require the exhumation of the remains in any of the graves."The association is anxious to facilitate the matter and will in every way cooperate with the District authorities for the purpose of completing the transfer of title to the District and also of clearing the site condemned of the graves."Yours respectfully,"W.G. Johnson==Offices of Carlisle & Johnson,"Attorneys and Counsellors at Law,"Rooms 30 to 36,"Fendall Law Building' The Union Benevolent Association requested payment prior to exumations from the cemetery for the widening of Adams Mill Road. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note, regarding the disinterments from the cemetery 7/31/1903 'No. 180831/49"Johnson, W.G."Attorney, Union Benevolent Association==States that until payment is made that DC have no right to enter upon the lands of this association for the purpose of widening Adams Mill Road.==1st Endorsement."August 3, 1903"Respectfully forwarded to the Engineer Commissioner, DC (through Capt. Newcomer) recommending that the writer be informed that in the condemnation of Adams Mill Road a certain amount was allowed for removing bodies in the grave yard of the Union Benevolent Association, and that such money can not be paid until all bodies have been removed. It was for this purpose that notice was given, and the District has no intention of taking possession of the land until money has been paid either to proper individuals or into court."Wm.P. Richards"Assistant Engineer' Money for disinterments was to be made upon completion according to the Engineering Department. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to W.G. Johnson, Attorney, Union Benevolent Association from W. Trudall, Secretary 9/6/1903 'Mr. W.G. Johnson,"Attorney for the Union Benevolent Association,"Fendall Building.==Dear Sir:"The Commissioners direct me to inform you, in response to your letter of the 30th ultimo [sic] on behalf of the Union Benevolent Association, stating that until payment is made the District of Columbia has no right to enter upon the lands of the Association, for the purpose of widening Adams Mill Road, that in the condemnation of said road a certain amount was allowed for removing bodies in the grave yard of the Association, but such money cannot be paid until all bodies have been removed. It was for this purpose that notice was given, and the District has no intention of taking possession of the land until the money has been paid either to proper individuals or into court."Very respectfully,"W. Trudall"[DC] Secretary' The Engineering Department stipulated that money for disinterments was to be made upon completion of work to the Union Benevolent Association. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note, regarding the widening of Adams Mill Road 10/29/1903 'File No. 18083/55"McLean, H.C.,"Deputy Health Officer.==States that during the progress of the work by the District Government in opening up a public alley in the rear of Cincinnati St., NW, and in widening Adams Mill Road from Cincinnati St., to the entrance to the Zoological Park it will be necessary to open up graves through a portion of an abandoned burying ground known as the Young Men's Baptist Cemetery, and cites the law requiring a permit from the Health Department for the reinterment of the remains."Oct.30/03.==Nov 2/1903 Engineer Commissioner through Captain Newcomer contents noted; and with a statement that it is believed that the provisions of law referred to herein have been carefully observed up to the present time as to the conduct of the public work referred to herein, and that the same observance will be continued. (Acting Engineer of Highways)' The widening of Adams Mill Road necessitated the removal of remains from the Young Men's Baptist Cemetery. DC Archives, RG Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Engineer Department File Note from the Union Benevolent Association Auditor, re: road widening 11/25/1903 'File No. 18083/59==Auditor, DC"Invites attention to the award to the Union Benevolent Association in the matter of the widening of Adams Mill Road, and suggests a reference of the papers to the corporation counsel for reasons stated.==November 23, 1903"I move a reference to the corporation counsel for opinion. (Comm. West.)==November 24, 1903"Approved, with the request that the opinion be given as soon as practicable in order not to delay contemplated work. (Eng. Comm.)' The Union Benevolent Association sought legal cousel in the matter regarding the widening of Adams Mill Road. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to John Biddle, Engineer Commissioner fr. J.R. Garrison, re: widening of Adams Mill Road 6/13/1904 'John Biddle,"Engineer Commissioner, DC==Sir:"I have the honor to inform you that the awards for the condemnation of the land for the widening of the Adams Mill Road entrance to the Zoological Park have been paid as follows:"June 22nd, 1903 For parcel No. 2, 260 square feet, and " parcel No. 3, 2162.6 square feet," E.J. Stellwagen, $2,504.38==June 8th, 1904 For Parcel No. 1, 6067 square feet, " Union Benevolent Association of the " District of Columbia, Colored, and " Joseph Shorter, surviving Trustee," ________________, $3,033.50==June 8th, 1904 For removal of bodies from Parcel No. 1," Union Benevolent Association of the " District of Columbia, Colored," ________________, $ 555.00==Very respectfully,"J.R. Garrison"Auditor, DC' The Union Benevolent Association received money to remove remains from a portion of the cemetery for the widening of Adams Mill Road. DC Archives, RG 17 Department of Public Works Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Dr. Frank Baker from Donald Macpherson, attorney, re: purchase of cemetery land 10/1/1905 'Dr. Frank Baker"Superintendant Zoo Park, DC==My Dear Sir,"I herewith enclose you a request of some of the citizens of the Lanier Heights and vicinity, addressed to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to favor and duly recommend an appropriation by Congress, at its coming session, to purchase for the Park the strip of land lying between the Park on the East side and the highway recently aquired by condemnation. Also, if feasible, such portions of the adjoining cemetery at the southeast corner, as might be properly included between the Park and at East and West highway to be extended westward from the Adams Mill Road at a point near its intersection with Kansas Avenue."Provision also should be made for the proper landscape embelishment of the Park boundary in this vicinity. All of the forgoing would be for the Public benefit, and incidentally for the locality, houses, it would greatly facilitate the prospect of an appropriation for the purpose should the Smithsonian Institution make an official recommendation, that the land be obtained by purchase or condemnation, to be paid for out of the Treasury of the U.S. from any money not otherwise appropriated, as, to name a definite source would be difficult to name with certainty."Very truly, "Donald Macpherson' Donald Macpherson requested the NZP to consider acquiring additional cemetery acreage, either by purchase or condemnation. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 15 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Donald Macpherson from Secretary Langley, re: purchase of cemetery land 10/20/1905 'Sir:"I have received the communication of September 25, signed by yourself and other property owners, recommending the insertion in the estimates for appropriations for the National Zoological Park for the coming year, of an item for the purchase, for public use, of the land lying between the present eastern and southern boundaries of the Park, and the highway provided for in the Act of Congress approved April 28, 1904."An item for the purchase of the strip of land in question, together with certain ground on the western boundary of the Park, was, as you are probably aware, included in the estimates for the current fiscal year, forwarded to the Treasury in October last, but failed of favorable consideration by the committees of Congress. In the preparation of the estimates for the coming year, it has been deemed advisable, for administrative reasons, to omit the provision for enlarging the existing boundaries of the Park, and the item does not appear in the estimates as recently transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury."I beg to assure you, however, that the acquisition of land proposed is, in my opinion, eminently desirable with a view to insuring against unsightly improvements along the Park boundaries, and that it will afford me pleasure to aid in every proper way the accomplishment of the object which you have in view."Very respectfully yours,"S.P. Langley"Secretary.==Mr. Donald Mcpherson,"1102 New York Avenue,"Washington, DC.' In response to Mr. Macpherson's letter, Secretary Langley replied that no funding request was made to expand NZP boundaries in the 1906 appropriations. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 15 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to John Biddle, Engineer Commissioner, from Richard Rathbun, Acting SI Secretary 12/18/1905 'Sir:"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of December 13th, stating that the Commissioners have completed the condemnation proceedings for the acquirement of highways on the east and west sides of the National Zoological Park, and calling attention to the advisability of prompt action with a view to the securing by the Government of the strips of land between these highways and the existing boundaries of the Park."Recognizing the importance of having the ownership of this land vested in the Government as early as possible, so as to prevent its improvement by private owners in a manner which would work injury to the appearance of the Park and its surroundings, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution included in his estimates to Congress in October, 1904, an item for this purpose, and urged before the House Appropriations Committee, its incorporation in the Sundry Civil bill, but without success. In the preparation of the estimates for the coming year, transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury some weeks ago, it was deemed inadvisable for the present to renew the recommendation."I need hardly say that the acquisition of the land in question is, in the Secretary's opinion, eminently desirable, with a view to insuring against unsightly improvements along the Park boundaries, and that every possible effort will be exerted by the Institution for its prompt acquirement."With an expression of my thanks for your very courteous interest in this matter, I am,"Very respectfully yours,"Richard Rathbun"Acting Secretary.==Major John Biddle, USA,"Engineer Commissioner, District of Columbia,"Washington City.' Although the NZP was interested in expanding its boundaries to prevent unsightly private development, it did not seek appropriations for land acquisition in 1906. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 15 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Statutory History of the National Zoological Park with appropriations 1/1/1921 '25 Stat. 808"...That the said commission is hereby authorized and directed to make an inspection of the country along Rock Creek, between Massachusetts Avenue extended and where said creek is crossed by the road leading west from Brightwood crosses said creek, and to select from that district of country such a tract of land, of not less than 100 acres, which shall include a section of the creek, as said commission shall deem to be suitable and appropriate for a zoological park."That the said commission shall cause to be made a careful map of said zoological park, showing the location, quantity, and character of each parcel of private property to be taken for such purpose, with the names of the respective owners inscribed thereon, and the said map shall be filed and recorded in the public records of the District of Columbia; and from and after that date the several tracts and parcels of land embraced in such zoological park shall be held as condemned for public uses, subject to the payment of just compensation, to be determined by the said commission and approved by the President of the United States, provided that such compensation be accepted by the owner or owners of the several parcels of land..."41 Stat. 1384"... For the purchase, by condemnation or otherwise, of all the following lots, pieces, or parcels of land lying between the present south-eastern boundary of the National Zoological Park and Adams Mill Road from Clydesdale Place to Ontario Road, now know or described on the records of the surveyor of the District of Columbia as lots numbered 800, 801, 802, 803, 805, 806, 807, 808, 809, and 810, of block numbered 2585 west, $2,500, together with the unobligated balance of the appropriation 'Additional land, National Zoological Park,' contained in the Sundry Civil Appropriation Act for the fiscal year 1921, or such portion of such sums as may be necessary, to be available till the termination of the proceedings herein authorized. The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and directed to purchase any of said land that he can obtain by agreement with the owner or owners thereof at prices not greater than 1 and 1/2 times the assessment for the 2-year period ending June 30, 1921, in addition to any special assessments levied against said lots since the making of said assessment, either paid or required to be paid; and the Secretary of the Treasury is further authorized and directed to institute proceedings for the condemnation...'" [cont. on next entry]"Description of appropriations for acquisition of NZP land. SI Archives, RU 50 Section 1949-64, Box 123, Folder: NZP Appropriations, pages 1 & 35 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Statutory History of the National Zoological Park with appropriations 1/1/1921 [cont. from previous entry]"'... of any of the land herein before described that he may be unable to purchase by agreement with the owner or owners thereof. The land acquired under the provisions of this Act, together with the included highway (alley from Admas Mill Road to boundary of the National Zoological Park) shall be added to and become a part of the National Zoological Park.==Approved March 4, 1921.' Description of appropriations for acquisition of NZP land. SI Archives, RU 50 Section 1949-64, Box 123, Folder: NZP Appropriations, page 35 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum to H. W. Dorsey from Superintendent A. Wetmore, regarding the purchase of cemetery land 1/26/1925 'I am returning the letter of Mr. H. A. Clarke regarding land owned by the Colored Union Benevolent Association, together with draft of an answer for the Secretary's signature."During a visit to this office on Saturday last Mr. George E. Clark, civil engineer in the office of Public Buildings and Grounds, stated that Colonel Sherrill is anxious to have this land acquired for park purposes and expects to take action toward it whenever he can. "A. Wetmore" Superintendent' The NZP intended buying more land from the Colored Union Benevolent Association in 1925. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to H. A. Clarke from C. G. Abbott, Secretary, re: purchase of cemetery land 1/14/1925 'Dear Sir,"I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of January 12 with regard to the proposed acquiring by the Government of a portion of all of the parcel of land now owned by the Colored Union Benevolent Association."While the Smithsonian Institution is interested in having this land acquired by the Government because, particularly, of advantages which would result to the National Zoological Park, it is not in a position to take the action suggested in your letter, as the matter now rests with Lieut. Col. C.O. Sherrill, USA, as Officer in Charge of Public Buildings and Grounds."Very truly yours,"Secretary==Mr. H.A. Clarke,"Co-trustee Colored Union Benevolent Association,"306 New York Avenue, NW"Washington, DC'" The NZP was interested in buying additional acreage from the Colored Union Benevolent Association. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to C.G. Abbott from C.O. Sherrill, regarding the purchase of cemetery land 9/10/1925 'Mr. C.G. Abbott"Acting Secretary,"Smithsonian Institution,"Washington, DC==Dear Sir:"Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of September 4th, 1925."Concerning the acquisition of the old cemetery lying on Adams Mill Road, adjoining the Zoo, the feeling of the National Capital Park Commission is that that tract should be purchased by the Zoological Garden authorities and incorporated with that park as it would be of more interest to you than to the park system."The Park Commission will, I feel sure, as well this office, be glad to help you in any way before Congress to secure an appropriation to purchase this tract."Your very truly,"C.O. Sherrill"Director'" The National Capital Park Commission recommended that the NZP purchase the cemetery lands rather than have the park system acquire it. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to William M. Mann from Ransellear Shorter regarding the purchase of the cemetery land 2/1/1926 'Mr. William M. Mann"Dear Sir,"I being an heir to the property next to the Zoo, located on Adams Mill Road and extending down to the Rock Creek car line loop, called the Young Men's Burial Ground, ask of you if this ground is wanted for an enlargement of the Zoo. Sometime ago a bill was introduced to buy this land but failed to pass."I am greatly interested in this property at the present time as I want to get the estate settled, which has been quite difficult for a number of years."Yours truly,"Ransellear F. Shorter' Ransellear Shorter, an heir to the Young Men's Burial Ground, was interested in selling the land to the NZP. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Ransellear Shorter from William Mann, NZP Sup't, re: purchase of the cemetery land 2/8/1926 'Dear Sir:"In reply to your letter of February 1, regarding the Young Men's Burial ground adjacent to the Zoo, the Smithsonian Institution is interested in having this land acquired by the Government because of advantages which would result to the Zoological Park, but it is not in a poistion to take action. This matter is entirely in the hands of the Department of Public Buildings and Grounds under Maj. Ulysses S. Grant, 3rd, USA."Very truly yours,"W.M. Mann,"Superintendent==Mr. Ransellear F. Shorter,"737 Hobart Place, NW,"Washington, DC' The NZP was interested in purchasing cemetery land from Mr. Shorter but did not have the authority to do so. SI Archives, RU 74, Box 110, Folder 14 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
The Burial Places of Washington by Hon. James F. Duhamel 1/1/1930 p. 540"'The Colored Union Beneficial [sic] Association established quite a large cemetery on Adams Mill Road, running back to the Holt property on what is Rock Creek Park, but a number of the bodies have been removed, and the cemetery is without fencing and is a general wreck."To the west of this colored cemetery was a small plot of land devoted to the burial of the Quaker congregation. Both of these pieces of land are abandoned, but there are evidently remains still in the colored cemetery, although many open pits show that bodies have been removed, and several overthrown headstones would suggest that the bodies they were intended to identify are still with their markers.' Both the Colored Union Benevolent and the Quaker cemeteries were mentioned in the chapter on burial places in Washington. Washington Past and Present, book edited by John C. Proctor, Lewis Hist. Publ: New York, 1930. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Harold Stabler, Friends member, from Eugene Taggart, realtor, re: purchase of cemetery 2/16/1932 'Mr. H.B. Stabler"Acting Chairman, Property Commission"Alexandria Monthly Meeting of Friends"c/o C & P Telephone Co."Washington, DC==Dear Sir:"For the tract of ground comprising approximately 10,000 square feet ground, known as the Quaker cemetery located about 200 feet from Adams Mill Road in the alley way to the rear of the Beacon Apt. building corner of Adams Mill Road and Calvert Street."I am willing to pay not over 75 cents per square foot all cash."It is imperative that I have some action on this proposition in the very near future as I am holding up a large operation pending your action."Respectfully, "Eugene Taggart'===Stabler's response was written down on the same document. It states:"'Feb. 20, 1932, I advised Mr. Taggart by telephone:"1. Alexandria Monthly Meeting may never have had title."2. It if had, it may be impossible to legally re-establish."3. If possilbe, perhaps would not be done because not ethical."4. If re-established, probably Alexandria Monthly Meeting could not convey a clear title, because the deed from Jonathan Shoemaker implies reversion if property ceases to be used as a burying ground.' In 1932, the realtor Mr. Taggart was interested in purchasing the Quaker cemetery for development purposes. The offer was, however, turned down by the Society of Friends. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by Harold Stabler, Friends member, to the Alexandria Monthly Meeting, re: Quaker cemetery 5/20/1932 'Herbert S. Lewis, Clerk,"Alexandria Monthly Meeting"1811 Eye [I] Street"Washington, DC==Dear Herbert:"This report is submitted, as suggested, in order to record certain facts which I reported verbally to the Monthly Meeting in March, regarding the small Friends' burying ground located in Square No. 2547, District of Columbia, between Calvert St. and the Zoological Park, and between Adams Mill Road and Rock Creek..."On visiting the office of the DC Tax Assessor Mr. Eby and I verified Mr. Taggart's statement that this property is there recorded as a 'Quaker Burying Ground' and hence is not taxed. An assistant there advised us that a year or two ago two young men named Turner and Yookley, connected with the Columbia Title Insurance Company, had actively investigated this parcel of land, apparently with the hope of obtaining title to it so that they could dispose of it to their own advantage..."Mr. Eby and I together visited the offices of the Columbia Title Insurance Company and talked the case of this property over with Mr. James Becker, president, who is an authority on real estate law; and also with the aforementioned Mr. Turner. Mr. Turner, through the investigation he made, has acquired considerable information about this property, and he gave me the following statements, which I presume are true."1. The last interment in this cemetery was in 1867."2. In 1898 the Alexandria Monthly Meeting passed a minute abandoning this burying ground to the Shoemaker heirs, and notified the lot holders of this action, so that all interested might have the opportunity to have the remains of their deceased friends or forbearers removed."3. Edward Shoemaker, a great-grandson of Jonathan, at about that time built a fence around the property, and"4. Entered suit (Equity No. 24,990) apparently on his own behalf, to recover the property. Though he had a capable attorney - the late Wm. A. Gordon of Georgetown - there were errrors in the petition, and the court records show that it had to be amended several times. This trouble seems to have been due to difficulty in tracing the heirs, of which there were a great number. Jonathan Shoemaker had about 10 children, who were very prolific, each of them having about 8 to 12 children,... [cont. next entry] Stabler traced the ownership title to the Quaker cemetery to determine whom it belonged to. He determined that the Alexandria Monthly Meeting petitioned to abandon the cemetery in 1898 and notified the Shoemaker heirs. Thereupon, Edward Shoemaker, one of the heirs, attempted to recover the property himself. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by Harold Stabler, Friends member, to the Alexandria Monthly Meeting, re: Quaker cemetery 5/20/1932 [cont. from previous entry]"'... so that there were more than 200 known heirs when the suit was brought. It is estimated (by Turner) that actually there were probably a thousand descendants at that time, and that there are several thousand at the present."While the suit was pending Edward Shoemaker died, and the case was dropped..."Mr. Turner further advised that two years ago he was able to find still standing two posts of the Edward Shoemaker fence, a rough stone marking the northwest corner of the cemetery, and one tombstone marking a grave. On recently visiting the site I found the two fenceposts and the stone marker at the northwest corner, but no tombstones were standing...==Very truly,"Harold B. Stabler"Member of Property Committee'" Stabler researched the title ownership to the Quaker cemetery. His (and Turner's) research indicated that the Shoemaker heirs were entitled to the claim but were apparently unable to attain it. It is of interest to note that tombstones may have been used in the cemetery, contrary to Quaker custom. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to C. G. Abbott from Stephen Gambrill, regarding the purchase of cemetery land 7/19/1937 'My dear Dr. Abbott: "One of the trustees of the Colored Union Benevolent Association has requested me to bring to your attention a piece of property about 168,000 square feet, located on Adams Mill Road, adjoining the National Zoological Park, an old abandoned colored graveyard which the owners, old colored people, desire to sell. This property, it is suggested, would be suitable as an extension of the Zoological Park." This property is assessed at $126,000 but the owners would be willing to sell same for $80,000. "Will you be good enough to advise me your reaction in the premises?" With very best wishes, Sincerely, Stephen Gambrill' 168,000 square feet of of the cemetery were being offered for sale to the NZP by the Colored Union Benevolent Association. SI Archives, RU 46, Box 144, Folder 4: Expansion of Grounds Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Stephen Gambrill from Acting Secretary A. Witmore, re: the purchase of cemetery land 7/21/1937 'My dear Mr. Gambrill:"In the temporary absence of the Secretary your communication of July 19 has come before me for attention."The tract of ground under control of the Colored Union Benevolent Association is well known to us, and is one that at one time the National Zoological Park considered buying to protect its front."In view of modern real estate developments, however, we have considered this unnecessary since park frontage is now held highly valuable and is developed and landscaped accordingly when in private hands. The land would be of no value to us for ordinary use since it adjoins the section devoted to our administrative offices where we have already sufficient ground. It is remote from the section of the park where animals are displayed for the public and would not fit into any program of development in that area. In view of all this, as I say [sic] several years ago we decided that the acquirement of this and an adjacent tract were not desirable." Possibly the tract may be of interest to the Park Service. With appreciation of your bring this matter to our attention, I am Sincerely yours, A. Witmore, Acting Secretary' The NZP was not interested in purchasing additional acreage from the Colored Union Benevolent Society in 1937. SI Archives, RU 46, Box 144, Folder 4: Expansion of Grounds Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Brief Historical Sketches Concerning Friends' Meetings, re: Alexandria Monthly Meeting of DC 1/1/1938 p. 1007"'Washington"Officially known as Alexandria Monthly Meeting"Meeting organized in 1803 ..."Location in Washington, DC' ...==p. 1009"'In March 1807: 'Friends of Washington informed that they had procured a Lot for the purpose of a burying ground and wishing Trustees to be appointed to receive the title thereto.' That ground is adjacent to the Adams Mill Road entrance to Rock Creek Park, near the head of 20th Street. This service was reported accomplished in December. It was in October, 1807, some months after the first mention of the burying ground which was donated by the Shoemaker family, the Indian Spring Minutes show the Washington Preparative Meeting 'proposes the consideration of the expediency of procuring a lot and erecting a Meeting House.'' The Alexandria Monthly Meeting was organized in Washington, DC in 1803, the same year that Jonathan Shoemaker moved to the area. By the end of 1807 he had donated part of his property for the first Friends cemetery in Washington, DC. Swarthmore College, book compiled by T. Chalkley Matlack, typescript Morristown, NJ, 1938. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Application for Disinterment from the Colored Union Benevolent Cemetery 5/15/1941 '500 Unknown (more or less) Bodies of the Colored Union Benevolent Association Burial Ground, Parcel 66/5 to Woodlawn Cemetery. Authorized under Public No. 526, 67th Congress, H.R. 13617."Permit # 17636==Memorandum to: Dr. Ruhland"From: Mr. Irvine"May 19, 1939"An old abandoned colored cemetery on Adams Mill Road, NW is the subject of a real estate deal of considerable proportions. It may become necessary to disinter and move all bodies buried here to another cemetery. The number of bodies has been estimated as high as 1,500. The people interested in the deal desire to known the particulars as regards the Health Departments concern in the matter. I have informed them of what occurred in moving a number of bodies to extend a street about three years ago; namely notice to relatives of decedents, advertising to cover cases where no relatives were known, request for a blanket permit signed by the commissioners, the issuance of a blanket permit by this office, the presence of an inspector to represent the Health Department and the providing of proper containers to hold the remains disinterred."An act of Congress specifically authorizes the removal of all bodies from this cemetery."Two of the representatives of the companies involved are coming to the office this afternoon. Have you any suggestions, such as to what extent they must go in order to get a clearance stating that all bodies have been removed? Some of the graves may not show any surface markings due to the elapse of time since they had any care."I have talked to some of these interested parties before and one of the points that remains unsettled is 'Can the contractor who removes the bodies get a statement from the Health Department to the effect that no more bodies remain buried there?'"If you could see these men for a few minutes I am inclined to think they would feel better satisfied. They are to be here at 1:30 today.'==[handwritten note attached]"'Quaker Cemetery owned part of this land previously. 'Mary Severe' tomb stone was found."J. Quincy Adams owned an interest in this cemetery.' Five hundred remains were moved from the Colored Union Benevolent Cemetery to Woodlawn Cemetery between 1939-1941."Note that John Quincy Adams' son, Charles Frances, sold land to the Union Benevolent Association for creation of their cemetery, which did not include the Quaker Cemetery as is incorrectly stated on this report. DC Archives, Public Health Records, Disinterment Permits, 1937-1948, Accession 93-011 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report on the National Zoological Park (unknown author, ca. date), regarding NZP acreage 1/1/1943 'The park now comprises approximately 175 acres. The land purchases were as follows:"Act approved March 2, 1889 (25 Stat. 808) 166.49 acres " $190,964.34"Act approved June 5, 1920 (41 Stat. 892) 5.66 acres" $77,596.34"Act approved March 4, 1921 (41 Stat. 1384) .22 acres" $8,000.00"One-half of the cost of the first purchase was paid by the District of Columbia. The other half, as well as the full cost of later purchases, was paid by the Federal Government. The District of Columbia and the Federal Government therefore paid, respectively, $95,482.17, and $181,078.51, totalling $276,560.68. Title to the ground in the park is in the District of Columbia.' The NZP comprised of approximately 175 acres in the early 1940s. SI Archives, RU 46 Secretary 1925-1949, Box 144, Folder 8 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Land Transfer Deed to Shapiro, Inc. from Helen Wells, re: purchase of cemetery land 8/12/1941 Square 2547"Lot 808 of Lot 5"'Part of a tract of land called 'Pretty Prospect', being a portion of 'Columbia Mills Property' conveyed to one Shorter by deeds, beginning for the same at the NW corner of the land conveyed to Edward J. Stellwagen by deed of trust, running S 89 degrees W 99 feet along the N line of the land conveyed to the trustees of the Society of Quakers by deed said property now known as Lot 808 of Lot 5 in Square 2547, also known as Parcel 66/5.' Shapiro purchased land that had once been a part of the Union Benevolent Association cemetery. DC Recorder of Deeds, Liber 7651, Folio 421. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Mid to Late 1900's
Letter to Harold Stabler, Quaker Treasurer, from Thomas Patterson, lawyer, re: Quaker cemetery 4/17/1950 'Mr. Harold B. Stabler"6123 Broad Branch Road, NW"Washington 15, DC==Dear Mr. Stabler:"Without any report of a Title Company or abstract of title by a qualified title examiner, my opinion respecting the Friends' Burial Lot in Square 2547 of the District of Columbia, is that it is still benefically owned by the Society of Friends for burial purposes only. I do not think that any of the recent conveyances commencing about the year 1940, transferred any interest in this property. The naked legal title, I believe, is held in trust by the heirs of the original trustees under the deed of Jonathan Shoemaker given in the year 1807, or perhaps in the heirs of the survivor of those trustees, but so held in trust for the Friends..."The grant was for the benefit as a common burying ground 'for the Society of Friends or Quakers, their families and descendents'. This classification is all inclusive so far as the right of interment in this plot of ground by any member of the Society of Friends is concerned. However, since the land lies within the limits of the territory now served by the Washington meeting, I believe that the Court would entertain a petition of the Washington meeting having to do with the future use or disposition of this property. I hardly think the resolution of the Alexandria Meeting could have had the effect of relinquisihing the property, so far as to bar the rights of any other members of the Friends' Society interested in the use of this ground, although the resolution is a circumstance which must be kept in mind."It is my opinion that a complete abandonment of the use of the ground for the purposes for which it was given by Mr. Shoemaker would cause the beneficial ownership to revert to Mr. Shoemaker's heirs; but, I do not think there can be an abandonmnet of a cemetery without the removal of the remains of those who were properly interred there, coupled with a determination never to use it again for the same purpose..."There has been nothing disclosed to me which suggests that the Washington meeting of the Society of Friends, acting on behalf of the Society in general, has not the right to enclose this plot of ground as you suggested you would like to do."I am, Yours very truly, Thomas H. Patterson'" Lawyers reported to the Friend's society in 1950 that the Society retained ownership of the Quaker cemetery, and if abandoned by the Society, ownership would revert to the Shoemaker heirs. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum issued by the Shapiro office, re: the Union Benevolent Association cemetery history 1/1/1951 The Union Benevolent Association 'was authorized on March 3, 1865, by an Act of Congress for the purpose of providing a burial place for the incorporators and members of their families. The group pruchased property on what is now Adams Mill Road and in Anacostia. In 1889 the ground was discontinued as a cemetery and the health officer permitted no more bodies to be buried there."After several unsuccessful attempts to dissolve the association, Congress by Act of March 4, 1923, authorized the dissolution of the Colored Union Benevolent Association. Whitfield McKinlay, Henry O. Clark, and George Emmons were named trustees..."The original 16 incorporators of the association include: Andrew Carroll, Gillis Key, Henry Logan, James H. Lewis, James F. Herbert, Hamilton Martin, James H. Wright, Charles Shorter, Joseph Shorter, Charles Wilson, Anthony Hickman, John E. Dorsey, Hilleary Davis, Sandy Jackson, Henry Brooks, and Isaac Clark..."The disinterment was done under the supervision of Mr. T.M. Galloway, District Inspector, who was on the job several hours each day, and who made the following report on March 28, 1940, to the Health Officer, from his personal observation and from the reports of foremen on the job."Attached to the report were sketches of the grave sites, as explained in the report, a list of the headstones remaining, and a sketch of the plot in Woodlawn to which the bodies were removed, all in Mr. Galloway's handwriting."'I have the honor to present the following special report relative to the removal of the remains of persons buried in the Young Men's Benevolent Association Cemetery, parcel 66/5 adjoining 2630 Adams Mill Road, NW."The Trustees of the above cemetery were authorized under Public Law #526 67th Congress to disinter any remains found in this cemetery and reinter the same in a cemetery within the District of Columbia."Mr. George C. Gertman, attorney representing the Trustees contracted with W. Ernest Jarvis, undertaker, 1432 Y Street, NW, to do this work. A blanket health department disinterment permit #17,636 was issued and work was started on March 5, 1940. No records or plat of the location of the graves were available, so the cemetery was divided into 14 sections, each section being roped off while being worked and diligent search made therein..."A total of 390 openings were made and a minimum depth of six feet, and 129 graves were found to contain portions of human remains, which were removed and placed in boxes " preparatory to reinterment. Eleven headstones were found.''"Although this report is only a second-hand account of the establishment of the Union Benevolent Association and the later reinterment of over 100 bodies in 1940, it provides an important summary and details of the events surrounding the Union Benevolent Association cemetery. Copy received from Frank Graves, a neighborhood activist, in February, 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum to the Friend's Society from Harold Stabler, their Treasurer, re: cemetery actions 3/13/1951 'This is to recommend that Friends Meeting of Washington do something about the Friends Burying ground in Square 2547, North of Calvert Street and West of Adams Mill Road."What I recommend is:"1. That we have the District Surveyor locate the four corners of the plot, for which some months ago he quoted me a price of $50.00."2. That we put a permanent marker, such as an iron pipe set in concrete, at each corner. Some volunteers, of which I will be one, can contribute the labor, and perhaps also the material, which will cost very little."3. Put a substantial sign on the property reading 'Quaker Cemetery - No Trespassing'. With some volunteer labor, this can be done at quite minor cost."4. Do a little cleaning up and trimming up, entirly with volunteer labor."Reasons:"1. Common decency: this burial plot, owned by the Society of Friends, is now in very discreditable condition."2. To keep a real estate man, who has no right to this land, from claiming it and eventually getting his claim so well recognized that the Society of Friends will lose their right to it. ..."Probable Alternative:"It is very clear to me that one Maurice E. Shapiro, who I understand is a real estate man, is trying to acquire this plot of ground. He has mentioned it in transfers back and forth of certain adjacent lands in such a way as to make it appear that he owns it or has rights to it, and he has been so far successful that a responsible employee in the DC Surveyor's office insisted to me that 'Shapiro now owns the land'. I am not sure, but I have reason to think that he is actually paying taxes on it, as a part of his scheme to acquire it. I believe that, if let alone, he intends to use it in some way, claiming ownership of it, and that eventually he may become owner in fact, and the Society of Friends, through inaction, will then lose their right to it. ...' Mr. Stabler recognized the threat the Shapiros posed in taking over the ownership of the Quaker cemetery plot. He proposed that the Society of Friends oppose the Shapiros and take action to improve the boundaries and appearance of the cemetery. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Harold Stabler, Quaker Treasurer, from John Wilson, Shapiro's lawyer, re: Quaker cemetery 7/27/1951 'Mr. Harold B. Stabler, Treas.,"Friends Meeting of Washington,"2111 Florida Avenue, NW,"Washington, DC==Dear Mr. Stabler:"Our client, Mr. Maurice Shapiro, has handed us your letter of July 24, regarding the old Quaker burying grounds North of Calvert Street and West of Adams Mill Road, in Square 2547."Frankly, your letter comes as quite a surprise, since the court records - Equity #24990 - disclose a resolution adopted by the Alexandria monthly meeting of the Society of Friends on October 6 or 8, 1890, by which the Clerk of the Society was directed to notify Edward Shoemaker, on behalf of the heirs of Jonathan Shoemaker, that the Society relinquished all title to the Friends burying grounds at Washington, DC."There appears to be a flaw in the title to the so-called 'cemetery property' subsequent thereto, but our client is advised by expert title men that the above referred to relinquishment ousted the Friends of further rights in the area in question."I should like to have the opportunity to discuss this matter with you, since there is no occasion for there to be any misunderstanding between our client and your group. I had understood that the bodies had been disinterred and that the property had been entirely abandoned as a cemetery. Doubtless your recent action in having the Surveyor locate the four corners of the former cemetery was prompted by publicity in the newpapers to the effect that Mr. Shapiro had obtained a rezoning of the property in order to construct a fine apartment house there. Prior to the recent survey, what action have the Friends taken to exercise ownership over this small tract, such, for example, as fencing it in, or paying taxes thereon, or the like? My information is that our client has been paying taxes on the entire tract known as Parcel 66/5, which includes the former cemetery property, for approximately the last ten years."If you will be kind enough to telephone me, I shall be glad to meet with you, either at my office or yours, or that of your lawyer if you have consulted counsel in this connection."Sincerely yours,"John J. Wilson' Maurice Shapiro wanted to purchase the abandoned Quaker cemetery for development purposes. John Wilson, Mr. Shapiro's lawyer, contacted the the Treasurer of the Friend's Society, Harold Stabler, to discuss the land transfer. The Friend's Society objected to the development plans. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February, 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum by Harold Stabler for the Quaker Society records, re: cemetery land development 1/16/1952 'Mr. Shapiro followed up through Mr. Pattersons office, wanting me to meet him at the cemetery at an early date. I met both brothers - J.B. and Maurice C. - there at 4 PM today. J.B. did nearly all the talking and seemed to be the leading man of the two."He insisted that the cemetery property had been graded down a good many feet, and that the trees on it had grown since that time, (probably about 1940, the date on the large plat, made by Jos. N. Starkey, which he produced, showing original elevations - 180 ft. at the highest corner). By taking him to trees or stumps nearly a foot in diameter, and one stump more than a foot in diameter, I finally got him thoroughly convinced that the Quaker cemetery plot is all at original grade."He would say whatever seemed to him expedient at the moment, regardless of accuracy, though several times I showed him up wrong."He first would not admit that he was going to cut down the grade of the land, but I kept at him and by 'putting the words in his mouth' got an admission that they will steamshovel away the ground, bringing the grade down to approximately that of the alley. He then hastened to proclaim that any and all human remains found will be carefully taken up and reinterred elsewhere."I told him that we would like this assurance put in writing (and he said they will gradly do this) after which the Friends group will not demand a payment from him, as I had recommended they do, but will step aside, and let him take possession of the land, with only possible claims of the Shoemaker heirs to worry about. I think the pair were quite delighted to hear me say this, and they courteously drove me home, suggesting that they might want to make a little gift - some books for the Library perhaps - in return for our courtesy to them."Harold B. Stabler' The Quaker Society was willing to let the Shapiros develop the former Quaker cemetery plot in exchange for a written agreement to reinter all remains from the property. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to the Shapiro brothers, developers, from Harold Stabler, Quaker Treasurer, re: cemetery 10/24/1952 'Messrs. J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro"911 Fifteenth Street, NW"Washington 5, DC==Gentlemen:"You remember our meeting at the Quaker cemetery North of Calvert Street in Square 2547 on January 16 of this year."In that interview I told you that the main concern of our group was that no graves there should be desecrated, and that if we should stand aside and allow you to enter upon and use the property we would want you to agree to proceed carefully with your improvements so as not to destroy the human remains that are still there, and, at your own expense, to have any and all remains found carefully removed and suitably reinterred in some other cemetery."You said you would be glad to do this, and I said we would like to have you write us a letter confirming this agreement, and you said you would be glad to send us such a letter."No such letter has been received from you, and I have not previously followed you up because I have seen no indication of the proposed improvements on parcel P 66/5 getting started. I presume, however, that you will get started some day, and while the matter is still fresh in our minds and yours we would like to have the above mentioned letter from you to place in our files, so as to set at rest the minds of all of our members when they see excavating or grading being done at this site."If instead of proceeding with improvements on parcel P 66/5 you should convey it to other interests, and should include in such conveyance the Quaker cemetery plot (which of course you do not really own, and which is not truly a part of Parcel P 66/5, though in recent years some of the records in the Surveyor's office and elsewhere make it appear to be), then we think you should secure for us, from the purchasers, their agreement to take care of all remains in the cemetery in the manner and under the conditions named above."I will appreciate hearing from you."Very truly yours,"Harold B. Stabler"Treasurer' The Society of Friends resigned themselves to the fact that the Quaker cemetery land was going to be developed. Their greatest concern was to insure that all remains be reinterred at the developers expense prior to any construction work. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to the Quakers from the DC Health Department, re: abandonment of Quaker cemetery 1/6/1953 'Society of Friends"2011 Florida Avenue, NW"Washington, DC ==Gentlemen:"Recent investigation of cemeteries in the District of Columbia has revealed that certain ones of them are maintained in violation of Law. One of them 'Quaker Burying Ground', located in Square 2547, is owned by the Society of Friends."Land records show that the tract of land was last deeded on Decemeber 6, 1845, to five trustees for the Society of Friends, for use as a burying ground."Vital statistics fail to show any record of burials in this land since 1880. Neither do these records show any disinterments since that date. It must therefore be presumed that remains of those interred there remain untouched."The law governing cemeteries, enacted by Congress March 3, 1901, requires certain things be done in order to keep proper records and to maintain the cemetery in an orderly manner."The Quaker Burying Ground is not so maintained. The attached sheet lists items which must be uniformly observed in all cemeteries."Our object in writing to you is to solicit your cooperation in bringing your cemetery into reasonable compliance with the requirements of law. Therefore please advise us by January 27, 1953, as to your intention."Very truly yours,"Raymond S. Wilson, Chief Inspector"Bureau of Public Health Engineering" DC Health Department records indicated that the last burials in the Quaker cemetery occured in 1880 and that there had been no subsequent disinterments. They requested the Society of Friends to maintain the cemetery properly. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Letter to Harold Stabler, Friends' Treasurer, from the Shapiro brothers, re: Quaker cemetery 5/25/1953 'Harold B. Stabler, Esq."Friends Meeting of Washington"2111 Florida Avenue, NW"Washington 8, DC==My dear Mr. Stabler:"Please accept our apologies for not answering your letter of October 24, 1952, before this time. We sincerely hope that our failure to reply more promptly has not caused you any inconvenience. The seeming neglect was caused by our new secretary, and it was not until a few days ago that we discovered we had failed to answer your communication."We want to assure you and your group that no graves will be desecrated and, further, that we will proceed carefully with the improvements so as not to destroy the human remains that are still in the cemetery. At our own expense we will secure the necessary permits to disinter the remains, and all remains will be carefully removed and suitably reinterred in another cemetery."Furthermore, we agree that if we convey the land to any other interest, which we have no thought or intention of doing, we shall secure from the purchaser or grantee an agreement to take care of all of the remains in the cemetery in the manner and under the conditions set forth in this letter."We trust that the foregoing will meet with your approval, and we will appreciate it if you will contact either one of us at your convenience, so that arrangements can be made to disinter and reinter the remains now in the Quaker cemetery."Very truly yours,"J.B. Shapiro and "Maurice C. Shapiro'" The Shapiros assured the Society of Friends that they would follow the requested proper procedure for reinterments at the Quaker cemetery. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report to the Commissioners from Vernon E. West, Corporations Counsel, re: the Quaker cemetery 11/9/1953 'On March 6, 1953, the Director of Public Health forwarded a memorandum to the Commissioners concerning the Quaker Cemetery located in Square 2547, requesting that this office determine the responsible owner or trustee in order that pertinent laws and regulations might be enforced."The information submitted by the Director of Public Health concerning record title of the land in question is accurate. On December 9, 1807, Jonathan Shoemaker conveyed the tract to six persons, all members of the Society of Friends, in trust for the use of said Society of Friends as a common burying ground, the deed being recorded January 2, 1808, in Liber T, page 114. On October 20, 1845, the three surviving trustees conveyed their interest to five successor trustees. This deed was recorded December 6, 1845, in Liber WB 122, page 73. A search of the land records for the District discloses no subsequent conveyance of any interest in this property."During the investigation of this matter, case No. 174669 of the Columbia Title Company was reviewed. The file indicated that in 1899 an attempt was made by the Society of Friends of Alexandria, Virginia, to abandon this cemetery by resolution. A subsequent suit in equity to determine the disposition of the property was dismissed, and the resolution of the Alexandria Society held to be of no force or effect. A letter, appearing to be a copy of one sent to the Commissioners on July 17, 1951, and signed by Harold B. Stabler, Treasurer, Friends Meeting of Washington, was also found in the title company file. The letter stated in effect that the land had not been conveyed nor abandoned as a cemetery, and that his organization had caused a recent survey to be made clearly delineating the cemetery boundaries in order to forestall encroachment by abutting landowners."For many years Shapiro, Inc., owner of property adjacent to the Quaker Burial Grounds, has been interested in acquiring title to the land in question, and the area has been included in several plats filed with the Surveyor and described in deeds recorded by Shapiro, Inc. Recently Roger J. Whiteford, Esq., attorney for this corporation, requested Columbia Title Company to furnish a preliminary report covering the Quaker tract with a view to its ultimate purchase. The Title Company has raised the question as to the validity of the second conveyance hereinabove mentioned, inasmuch as the original trust imposed no duties upon the trustees and conveyed no power of alienation.' [cont. next entry] The ownership title of the Quaker Cemetery was traced for the Commissioners. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report to the Commissioners from Vernon E. West, Corporations Counsel, re: the Quaker Cemetery 11/9/1953 [cont. from previous entry]"'This office has been advised by Mr. Whiteford that a suit is to be filed immediately in the United States District Court to determine the validity of the purported existing trust and to request that present title to the land be determined."Health Department records indicate that the last interment in the Quaker Burial Grounds occurred in 1891. Furthermore, a Health Department Inspector (now deceased) reported in writing to his department on March 28, 1940, that in his opinion all bodies had been exhumed from this area early in 1940 at the time a negro cemetery, which abutted the Quaker Burial Grounds, was abandoned and bodies removed therefrom. He cited at least one instance where positive identification of a grave conincided with a record of burial in the Quaker cemetery. It appears, therefore, that despite the letter from Mr. Harold Stabler referred to above stating that the property has not been abandoned as a cemetery, the land in question has not been used for cemetery purposes during the past twelve years."(Incidentally, this cemetery does not appear on the assessment rolls of the District of Columbia for taxation purposes; nor does any record appear of specific exemption by the Commissioners from the payment of taxes. It is respectfully suggested that this matter be brought to the attention of the Assessor for such action as he may deem appropriate.)"The situation under discussion has apparently remained static for more than fifty years without any affirmative action having been taken by the District to enforce regulations pertaining to cemeteries. It is, therefore, recommended that no action be taken at this time since the land is not actually being used as a cemetery and it appears that no bodies are interred therein.==Recommendation:"That copies of this opinion be forwarded to the Director of Public Health and the Assessor.==Vernon E. West"Corporation Counsel, DC' The ownership title of the Quaker Cemetery was traced for the Commissioners. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by George Pierce, Acting Chief, Bureau of Food and Public Health, re: Shapiro excavations 6/30/1959 'During the course of excavations by Shapiro, Inc., at Adams Mill Road and Calvert Street, NW, there were uncovered some unindentifiable remains. Some of these may have been on the location of the Young Men's Benevolent Association Cemetery and some definately were found at the location of the Quaker Burying Grounds. Our first information relating to this was received when one of the newspapers published a story concerning the matter, indicating that the children of the neighborhood had found the bones and carried them home and even to school. The newspaper published a photograph showing one of the boys of the neighborhood holding some of the bones."We immediately, on May 22, 1959, notified Captain Clark of Precinct #10 and asked him to have one of his officers go to the excavation site, take custody of any remains and stop any further excavation until we could investigate the situation. At 4PM, on May 22, 1959, I went to the excavation site and met Mr. Franklin from our Columbia Office, which I had notified of the situation, and also met Lieutenant Breasale from Precint #10, who had already taken custody of the remains that were on the site in the possession of one of the many boys present. He also sent one of the boys home to get some additional human remains (bones and skulls) that had been taken home or to school. Officer Wynn J. Straub and Officer Veal later returned to the site and maintained the watch of the situation from then on."Instructions were given to our Area office to maintain a constant watch of the excavation operation which could be permitted to resume under the watch of our inspector and the precinct officer. All remains that were taken into custody were turned over by the police representative to the coroner at the DC Morgue. The coroner made further attempts to identify the remains, but without success."From May 22, 1959, until approximately June 18, 1959, the excavation continued and further remains as they were uncovered were taken into custody by our inspector, turned over to the police and by the police turned over to the coroner at the morgue. The current phase of the excavation having been completed, our surveillance of the operation ceased until such time as the excavation resumes. Our Area office is to be notified by the contractor when this is about to take place so that we can again assign an inspector to the excavation operation. It is expected that the excavation along the bank above Rock Creek Park and the zoo will possibly expose some additional remains.' [cont.] In 1959, excavations by Shapiro, Inc. exposed remains from both the Young Men's Benevolent Association Cemetery and the Quaker Cemetery. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by George Pierce, Acting Chief, Bureau of Food and Public Health, re: Shapiro excavations 6/30/1959 [cont. from previous entry] "'On May 28, 1959, Mr. Paul Keen and the undersigned talked with Mr. Clark King of the Corporation Counsel's office concerning the District of Columbia Department of Public Health responsibility in connection with the remains. Mr. King confirmed our opinion that our action was correct in letting the coroner dispose of the remains that were unidentifiable."On May 25, 1959, I phoned Mr. Jim Carberry of the 'Washington Post' at the request of Dr. Finucane and gave him information on the current situation at the excavation site. This was the basis for the attached newspaper report which appeared in the 'Post' on the morning of May 26, 1959. On June 26, 1959, I phoned Dr. MacDonald, the District Coroner, at the morgue and ascertained that he was disposing of all remains which had been turned over to him, none of which were identifiable in any way. He stated that some rather ornate hinges had been recovered, which would indicate that the cemetery had not always been used as a burying ground for slaves, as had been reported at one time. He also verified the information previously received from our Public Health Inspector on the site that remains of some infants were found in the excavation.==George O. Pierce, Acting Chief"Bureau of Food and Public Health"Engineering' In 1959, excavations by Shapiro, Inc. exposed remains from both the Young Men's Benevolent Association Cemetery and the Quaker Cemetery. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Attached Memo to James Bradley's Memos re: Public References to the Cemetery (unknown author) 1/1/1963 'Report dated January 17, 1890, "p. 4 (Table): 'Part colored cemetery, 1.7 acres, $3000 valuation.'"p. 6, above report: 'the said map shall be filed and recorded in the public records of the District of Columbia; and from that date the several tracts and parcels of land embraced in such zoological park shall be held as condemned for public uses...'==Report of the Secretary, 1890,"p. 37 (Table): 'Owner (cemetery area) Union Benevolent Association. $3000. How obtained: By condemnation.'==Report of the National Zoological Park, 1899,"p. 56: 'At the request of the Capital Traction Railway Company a new entrance to the park has been made upon the south side to accommodate those who desire to enter by the pathway laid out by this company from the railway 'loop' at the Eastern end of the Cincinnati Street bridge, where a freight station and waiting room have been established. It would be greatly to the convenience of the public if a right of way could be acquired by which foot passengers could proceed from this 'loop' across the grounds owned by the colored cemetery association to the Adams Mill Road within the Park...'==Annual Report Smithsonian Institution, 1923;"p. 102: 'On March 4, 1923, an act of Congress was passed and approved dissolving the cemetery association controlling the burial ground bordering the Zoological Park on the south between Adams Mill Road and Rock Creek. The trustees named in the bill are authorized to transfer the bodies interred in this old cemetery and to sell the land. The permanent highways plan of the District of Columbia shows a proposed road across this property from Adams Mill Road to Calvert Street Bridge. It will be necessary in order to protect this section of the park, especially the beautiful roadway leading down from the Adams Mill Road entrance, to acquire that portion of the cemetery lying between this proposed roadway and the park boundary. It has been suggested that the permanent highways plan be modified, and that the proposed road across the old cemetery be made from Adams Mill Road at the corner of the Zoo Park to join Waterside Drive at Calvert Street Bridge. This would greatly reduce the area to be purchased for park purposes and amply protect the interests of the public.'' Exerpts from reports relating to the NZP cemetery land. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum to James Bradley from Dr. T.H. Reed, re: possible construction on NZP cemetery area 10/29/1963 'It was called to my attention by DMJM, when discussing boundaries, that there had been a cemetery in the area where we planned to place the Property Yard (see attached 1889 survey map). [no longer attached]"A search of the records we have (see attached excerpts) indicates that on March 24, 1923, an Act of Congress was passed to dissolve the Cemetery Association and the trustees were authorized to transfer the bodies interred and to sell the land. This occurred after the 1.7 acres of the cemetery was zoo property. We have no records of any bodies having been moved."When Mr. Shapiro leveled off that portion of the cemetery belonging to him and adjacent to the zoo property, human skeletons were found. There is reason to suspect that, if there were burials on the zoo grounds, the bodies have not been removed."On the attached plan for the development of the so-called Administration Hill, the trees have been marked that would have to be removed to accomodate the Property Yard. We also have a contour line of the view of the Proposed Property Yard from the front door of the Administration Building. Eventually this view would be blocked by the supply building and the mechanical shops."The question now seems to be: Should we plan to place the Property Yard where it was initially proposed or find a location for it elsewhere?"Factors against placing the Property Yard in this location are:"1. Locating it over an abandoned cemetery which would require leveling off the area by excavating to a depth of 6 feet."2. Removing 17 trees of over 12 inches diameter. (However, wherever the yard is located, it will require the removal of trees because there is no level area except in the central exhibition area of the zoo.)"3. Placing this type of structure on the edge of the zoo next to our neighbors. Although the adjacent area has not been occupied in the last 70 years, Shapiro apparently plans to erect an apartment building there."4. If Dr. Ripley has grand plans for the Administration Building, would we wish to place a Property Yard and open storage sheds within view of the building? In the summer when there is heavy foliage, we cannot see the boundary line but in the winter it is quite obvious.' "[cont. next entry] Dr. Reed stated his views on the matter of building a new NZP Property Yard over the former cemetery. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum to James Bradley from Dr. T.H. Reed, re: possible construction on NZP cemetery area land 10/29/1963 [cont. from previous entry]"'Factors favoring this location are:"1. We must have a Property Yard."2. We are losing the present facility to the parking lot and the hoofed stock area."3. This is a good location for the yard in relation to the other service facilities, the property and supply building, and the mechanical shops, and it has good access from an already established road.==I recommend:"1. That the size of the Property Yard be reduced (as shown by the red dots on the attached map), thus saving a number of trees and producing more of a screen from Adams Mill Road;"2. That legal opinion be sought into the moving of the abandoned cemetery area; and"3. That we make no further plans for this area until such time as we have a firm commitment from the incoming Secretary as to the use to be made of the Adminsitration Building.' Dr. Reed provided his advise on the matter of the NZP constructing a Property Yard on the area of the former cemetery. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Attached Memo to James Bradley's Memo, re: newspaper reports on cemetery excavations 11/5/1963 'From the Evening Star Newspaper, May 23, 1959:"Excavation is Halted at Old Cemetery Site"Policemen and District health officers will be on hand Monday at the excavation site near Adams Mill Road and Calvert Street NW to prevent a contractor from digging further into an abandoned cemetery, pending an investigation."Health Officer Daniel L. Finucane said his men and police visited the site last night and determined that some human bones and fragments of tombstones had been uncovered by Shapiro, Inc. The company has a permit to excavate for an apartment house."However, Dr. Finucane pointed out, a special permit is necessary to excavate on cemetery sites. He said his men will probably take a surveyor to the site Monday to make sure the excavators do not dig more deeply into the cemetery area."Neighbors said they used to find tombstones dated 1812, 1850, and other years in the area. Dr. Theodore Reed, director of the nearby Washington Zoo, said he understood the cemetery had been one for slaves about the time of the Civil War."Dr. Finucane said the excavators apparently had come to the edge of the old graveyard. He said the disinterred bones must have been buried outside the old cemetery boundary."Once the outlines of the graveyard are established Monday, he said, his men and police will confer with the Shapiro company about where they can dig."The old bones were taken to the Morgue for reburial.==From the Evening Star, July 13, 1959:"Skull Unearthed in Work at Zoo"A human skull found in the Zoo grounds today by two boys proved to be from an old cemetery nearby where excavations are in progress."Dr. Theodore Reed said Zoo police turned the skull over to Washington officers, who in turn planned to give it to the District Health Department for reburial."The skull turned up in some fill dirt dumped in the Zoo park by men excavating near the site of the old cemetery near the Adams Mill Road entrance to the park.' Both newspaper accounts appear to have been based on general information rather than actual facts since some of the statements are inaccurate. Shapiro was forced to halt his excavations of the site due to the unearthed remains. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum to James Bradley from J.A. Collins, re: possible construction on NZP cemetery area 11/5/1963 'If it is decided to build in the area in the National Zoological Park that had been a part of the old cemetery, there would be no problem until the remains of a burial were uncovered in excavating."The District of Columbia Code provides that the remains, or any part of the remains of a human body shall not be removed from place to place, interred, disinterred, or in any manner disposed of without a permit for such removal - by the Health Officer of said District."I talked with Mr. Pierce, assistant to Mr. Wm. H. Carey, DC Health Department, who is in charge of issuance of such permits. Mr. Pierce stated that if the decision is made to build, the work should commence and continue until such time as the remains of a burial were found. At that time work should be stopped immediately and Mr. Carey's office notified at once. Arrangements then would be made for the removal of the remains that might be located in the area.' The NZP considered constructing a new building on the grounds of the former cemetery. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Memorandum to James Bradley from J.A. Collins, regarding the disinterment of bodies 11/12/1963 'The attached papers were given to me today by Dr. Reed. You will note that the D.C. Health Department followed a policy in regard to the Shapiro excavations, that Mr. Pierce had told me over the phone. That is if excavation is started in the Zoo and the remains of burials are uncovered that excavation should be stopped and the D.C. Health Department notified. The Health Department would then make arrangements for disposal of any remains that are uncovered.' The D.C. Health Department was to be notified after the Shapiro developers started excavations on the abandoned cemetery. SI Archives, RU 365, Box 36, Folder 9 Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Funeral Customs and Cemeteries in Victorian Washington, DC 1850-1900, re: Benevolent Cemetery 1/1/1980 p. 83"The problem that most cemeteries experienced was that 'there were no provisions for perpetual care, and once the land was filled, the incoming revenue ceased and the cemeteries began to decline. District of Columbia law stated that any five people could join together to establish and incorporated a cemetery. Among the poor in Washington this provided a means of affording burial. Small groups of people gathered together, laid out a cemetery, and went into business. Problems arose from the lack of provisions for perpetual care and, as the lots were filled and relatives died or moved away, the cemeteries became overgrown, forgotten lots.' Although the thesis does not make specific mention of the Union Benevolent Association, the general description of cemetery associations describes them as well. The Union Benevolent Association was founded as an African American organization to provide burial sites for its members. The Union Benevolent Association Cemetery was discontinued because of marshy soil conditions and number of burials. Historical Society of Washington, DC, thesis by Robin S. Roberts, George Washington Univ, 1980. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Report by Sara Hadley, Friends member, re: history of Quaker cemetery and Pretty Prospect 7/30/1986 'Jonathan Shoemaker owned and operated the Columbia Mills that became Adams Mill when he sold the land surrounding the mill to John Quincy Adams [actually it first went to Roger Johnson and JQA purchased it from Johnson]. The Shoemaker and Adams families were good frineds and the two wives frequently rode horseback through the country lanes of Pleasant Prospect. Other family friends were James and Dolley Madison. Dolley, a birthright Quaker, often visited her longtime confidant Elizabeth Shoemaker. The Shoemakers usually sent one of their sons in a horsedrawn millcart to fetch their distinguished guest. We are told that Dolley Madison was delighted to ride in a cart through the woods and country meadows..."Jonathan Shoemaker gave the Deed to the Quaker Burial Ground to the Indian Spring Friends Meeting, near Sandy Spring, Maryland, where his family were members. The Deed was officially accepted by the Meeting on 'the 12th of 12th Month, 1807.' In 1825, this Deed was transferred to the Alexandria, Virginia, Friends Meeting, situated closer to Washington. Alexandria Friends asked Attorney Francis Scott Key to confirm the legality of their document. After examination, he responded favorably, and new trustees were appointed to oversee the property for the Alexandria Monthly Meeting."True to their testimonies of simplicity and equality, Quakers used no gravestones of any kind, and did not exclude from burial persons of another race or color. Welcomed into what was sometimes called the Pleasant Prospect Quaker Burial Ground were American Indians, black slaves and freedmen and women. Extensive records were kept of all burials, and by 1870 there was little room remaining. Whenever possible, however, space was given to the families who had members buried there. While it was used less as a cemetery with fresh graves, it became a playground and picnic area for the surrounding community - enjoyed and greatly appreciated for many decades...' Much of the information listed appears to be based on supposition more than actual facts. Ms. Hadley did not site any of her sources. None of the 'extensive records' have been found to support her theory that 'American Indians, black slaves and freedmen' may have been buried in the Quaker cemetery. Also, other Quakers reports indicate there may have been tombstones used (see entry 5/20/1932). Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Superior Court of DC, Probate Division, re: ownership of the Quaker cemetery 11/1/1986 'Complaint for the Appointment of Substitute Trustees==... In the early 1950s, the District of Columbia began attempts to assess taxes on the Quaker Burial Grounds. In 1956 and 1957, after finally receiving notice of the taxes due, the Religious Society of Friends notified the Government of their interest in the burial grounds and requested waiver of the taxes. Between 1956 and 1958, the District of Columbia effected a tax sale to the Shapiros. The deed was recorded in March, 1958. At no time was notice given to the Religious Society of Friends of the tax sale."In 1960, the Shapiros filed a suit for adverse possession of the Quaker Burial Grounds. No member of the Religious Society of Friends or any potential trustee was named in the suit or notified of the proceedings. Possession was awarded to Shapiros, based on an affidavit in which the Shapiros stated that no other person had an interest in the property. Plaintiffs only became aware of this suit and its results in August, 1986. Upon information and belief, Quaker remains still lie in the Quaker Burial Grounds."In 1978, the Shapiros recorded a Declaration of Abandonment with the DC Recorder of Deeds, stating that all bodily remains had been removed from the Quaker Burial Grounds and that they released and vacated the provisions of the 1807 deed requiring that the land be used as a burial ground."Between 1979 and 1981, the District of Columbia Government condemned the Quaker Burial Grounds and paid the Shapiros $1.99 million for it and the adjacent land. The District of Columbia Government has operated the land as a park since that date. Upon information and belief, the District of Columbia knew of Shapiro's false statements in 1960 and now plans to sell this land to Holiday, Inc., a corporation which plans to construct a condominium on the site of the remains of plaintiffs' ancestors...'" Rightful ownership disputes over the Quaker Cemetery continued in 1986 in response to the DC Government's proposal to sell the land to a developer. In response, the Quaker community filed a petition requesting appointment of current members as substitute trustees for the cemetery to represent their interests. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
Newpaper article in the Washington Post, re: land claims of the Quaker cemetery 12/30/1986 '... But now the historic property [Quaker cemetery], bought by the city several years ago for $1.6 million, is a softball diamond, part of a city park. Local Quakers - who have researched how the property passed over the decades from their hands to a developer and then to the city - are reviving a decades-old grievance, and have filed a lawsuit against Mayor Marion Barry saying they should be named the tract's owners."A group of Friends also is lobbying city officials to perform archaelogical studies to determine whether there still are Quaker remains on the site."The episode is bringing to light a long history of disputed dealings involving the former Quaker property and a historic black cemetery next door that are both now part of the city's Community Park West, in an increasingly upscale area of Adams-Morgan..."After the Civil War, Washington blacks established their own cemetery on an adjacent four-acre [6.75 acres] tract, called the Free Young Men's Burial Ground. But both they and the Quakers had to stop using their cemeteries around 1890 because they were running out of space..."The Quakers and the Shapiros fought over the property in the 1950s, with a key event being the 1953 decision by city officials that the property should be taxed. Some city Quakers received a property tax bill in 1957, but returned it as a protest, apparently without checking to see what the bill was all about. In 1958, the city sold the cemetery to the Shapiros at a tax sale for unpaid taxes of $830. Quakers say they were unaware of the tax debt or the sale."Quaker activists demonstrated in front of construction workers each time the developers sent them, but bulldozers made it onto the property in 1958, digging it up. The developers also won a 1961 court suit upholding their title to the land."For years, the Shapiros rented the land to the city as a park, but in 1979 the city bought it from them for $1.6 million. In connection with that transfer, the developers said in a court document that they had moved Quaker remains from the site years earlier. A city consultant concluded in 1978 that there were no remains left."But local Friends activists disagree. They say that the city's 1978 survey was cursory, and that nobody kowns for certain it there are remains left...' Disputes over remains from the Quaker cemetery and title to the land continued between the Friend's Society and the Shapiros throughout the 1950s and up to the late 1980s. Copy received from Frank Graves, neighborhood activist, in February 1998. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
A Black Skeletal Sample from a Washington, DC Cemetery in the Context of 19th c. Urban Growth 3/1/1989 'During residential construction in Washington, DC in 1959, the incomplete skeletons of 13 blacks and one white were recovered from an unmarked cemetery. Based on historical records and date of the site (c. 1850-1900), the cemetery was in use during a time of rapid black migration to the city. It is likely that some of the older individuals once served as slaves. Pathological conditions include a very low incidence of dental caries, antemortem tooth loss, and the complete absence of enamel hypoplasias. Also present is one case of scaphocephaly and a severely ulcerated tibia. This small group appears to have been in relatively good health in comparison with other black skeletal samples dating after 1900. ..."The skeletal material analyzed here was salvaged after accidental exposure by a construction excavation in a residential lot in 1959. Documentary evidence indicates the proximity of a cemetery known in the late 19th century as Mt. Pleasant Plains cemetery [Union Benevolent Association Cemetery]. A small park exists today, but its limits clearly do not correspond to the extent of the area used as a cemetery."A late 19th century plat map indicates the location and extent of the cemetery, an irregular tract of about 5 acres, but the precision of the plat map may not correspond to reality. The relation of these boundaries to existing lot boundaries is not clear and the limits may have been redefined by more recent surveys. The actual boundaries may never have been well marked and well defined. The tract was not fenced in the 20th century. Also, land surveys made for the adjacent National Zoological Park in 1889 encountered difficulties establishing the boundaries of certain tracts described in older deeds."Furthermore, complete removal of interments from cemeteries commonly was not achieved. It was noted in the early 20th century that 'As these sites are vacated and built upon, it was a common occurrence for the excavator to turn up remains of coffins and skeletons...'. It certainly is not uncommon for cemeteries to become overgrown, fall into disrepair, markers are destroyed or moved and, eventually, forgotten. Subsequent interments may then be made on top of or near old and forgotten burials."Major use appears to have started during the interval when new cemeteries were being established outside of the city limits. A black cemetery is said to have been established there about the time of the Civil War.'"[cont. next entry]" When Shapiro had part of the former Union Benevolent Association cemetery excavated in 1959, remains were discovered, some of which were analyzed by the Smithsonian Anthropology Department. article by Robert W. Mann and James J. Krakker for the TN Anthropologist, Vol. XIV, No. 1, 1989. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
A Black Skeletal Sample from a Washington, DC Cemetery in the Context of 19th c. Urban Growth 3/1/1989 [cont. from previous entry] 'There was some earlier use of the location. A Society of Friends cemetery existed before the Civil War, since it is evident on the 1859 Boschke map of the District of Columbia. How much earlier the Quakers began to use the location is unclear, but apparently only a very small tract was used. A Quaker church was organized in the city in 1808."Apparently use ceased by the early 20th century, certainly some time before 1930. A description published at that date indicates that it was abandoned and in disrepair suggesting it had been long out of use. At the time some interments had been removed. Hence, the span of major use is probably no more than about 50 years."The use span of the cemetery falls within a period of rapid increase of black urban populations. ..."With a large population and high mortality rate, if this cemetery received more than a small part of the black population it would have been quickly filled. For example, at a mortality rate of 30 per 1000 a population of even 10,000 could have filled an area of 5 acres in 30 years at 25 square feet per interment. ..."Analysis of the 14 skulls yielded 9 males and 5 females, 13 of which were adult blacks, and one adult white. The age range of the sample was 18-60+ years with the males generally outliving the females. Mean ages at death were 42.5 and 36.3 years for the males and females, respectively. Further, 5 males and 1 female lived to be 50+ years. It is possible that sample bias is responsible for the greater number of older males recovered from the site. ..."There is one point of interest deserving of thought; the possibility that the one white individual recovered may have been buried in a predominantly black cemetery. A more plausible explanation, however, is that he was buried in the Quaker cemetery adjoining Mr. Pleasant Plains and was exhumed. ..."In general, this sample yielded an average stature of 5'6' and above average dental and physical health during a time when commodities, diet, and health care must have been at a minimum. The apparent 'good' health of these individuals may indicate a more affluent black urban population or a rural existence during the pre- and early industrial period, a time before a rapid decline in dental health and relative physical health.'" Although the historical information presented on the Union Benevolent Association cemetery are not always accurate, the information given on the exumed remains is very informative and sheds new light on the Association's membership. article written by Robert W. Mann and James J. Krakker for the TN Anthropologist, Vol XIV, 1989. Sabina Wiedenhoeft
District of Columbia Death Records 8/1/1874 - 7/31/1879, re: Union Benevolent Assoc. Cemetery 1/1/1997 p. xv"'Young Mens and Mout Pleasant Plains cemeteries were among the twenty most active cemeteries during 1874-79 in Washington, DC.'==p. xvii"'Young Mens (see also Mount Pleasant Plains and Free Young Mens Burying Ground). About 1/2 mile northwest of Columbian College. Sexton is Mr. Talbert (1874). Mount Pleasant (1899). Discontinued, reinterments after 1890 to Woodlawn. (1,305).'==p. xiii"'Mount Pleasant Plains. Superintendents:"Joseph Shorter (1876, 1877),"Aaron Talbert (1878-1881),"James Talbert (1883),"Isaac Talbert (1884) and"James F. Herbert (1885-1887)."Near Mount Pleasant (1890, 1891), Adams Mill Road (1899) at Calvert Street, NW. Established by the Colored Union Benevolent Association, first located between 12th, 13th, V and W Streets, NW. Also known as the Free Young Mens Burial Ground. The ground became marshy due to proximity of the headwaters of Reedy Branch. Inactive by 1890, some reinterments made in Columbian Harmony. Discontinued, and about 1940 extant remains were removed to Woodlawn Cemetery,' (758) The Union Benevolent Association Cemetery, near Adams Mill Road, was very active during the years 1874-1879. African American men, women and children were buried in the cemetery. 1,305 remains were reinterred at Woodlawn Cemetery in 1940. Historical Society of Washington, DC, book by Wesley E. Pippinger, publ. Family Line, MD, 1997. Sabina Wiedenhoeft



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