Continuation of the History of the Lot and Building at 3401 Prospect Street
ORIGINAL OWNERS: Jeptha Hollingworth, -
........Robert Ferguson and Adam Stuart, 1773-1796
........Thomas Afflick, 1796-1797
The earliest owner of Lot 31 to appear in the real estate records now maintained by the District of Columbia was Jeptha Hollingworth. On March 13, 1773, he conveyed Old Georgetown Lots 30 and 31 to Robert Ferguson and Adam Stuart. In 1795 and 1796 Messrs. Ferguson and Stuart separately conveyed their interests in these two lots to Thomas Afflick. Thomas Afflick, however, died on, or about, December 8, 1797, leaving no heir or legal representative. On December 23, 1797, the Orphan's Court of Montgomery County appointed George Thompson to be the administrator of Afflick's Estate. On August 12, 1809, a District of Columbia court revoked the Montgomery County court's appointment of Thompson as administrator of Afflick's estate and appointed instead Abner Ritchie and Sarah Crookshank. Somehow over time Thompson himself became the owner of the property. Perhaps he was related to Afflick and inherited it. Thompson was a prominent Georgetown resident, who in 1806 became one of the incorporators of the Georgetown Presbyterian Church.
THE NEXT OWNERS: THE THOMPSON-MORTON FAMILY, 1796-1864
George Thompson died on February 24, 1810. Before his death, though, he and his wife Isabella, in order to to secure a $8,650 loan from the Bank of Columbia, executed a deed of trust to (his son-in-law?) Clement Smith for a portion of Lot 30, for "all that part lot 31 Old Georgetown not taken up by opening of Prospect St. and Frederick St," for for all of Lot 36, and for a portion of Lot 40. By his Last Will and Testament, probated in June of 1810, George Thompson had "conveyed houses in trust to William Morton," one of his sons-in-law and a founder of Christ Episcopal Church in Georgetown. A deed of trust from James Thompson and Margaret Smith, the heirs and representatives of the deceased George Thompson, was recorded on June 15, 1810, to effect this conveyance to Morton. On December 15, 1810 James Thompson and Margaret Smith executed still another deed of trust to William Morton, which recited that George Thompson in his lifetime had conveyed all his real, personal and mixed property to William Morton and that the second deed was executed to correct defects in the June deed. We know that William Morton died sometime in the 1830s because his Last Will and Testament were probated on March 15, 1838. In any event, in those years no one was living on Lot 31. The land was vacant.
By a deed made and recorded on July 22, 1834, Clement Smith, Trustee, stated that George Thompson had conveyed to him in trust certain real property for certain mentioned purposes and that, in consequence of that conveyance in trust, he had become the purchaser of the property. He then, for $1,485, conveyed to Isabella Thompson, the widow of George Thompson (and I think his mother-in-law) that "part Lot 40 Old Georgetown fronting 42' on Duck Lane [now 33rd Street between M Street and the River] where George Thompson formerly resided" and "all that part Lot 31 Old Gtn not taken away by opening of Prospect St. and Frederick St.".
The Assessment Books for 1835, 36, 37, 38, and 39 all list as the owners of Lot 31 "the heirs of George Thompson." These Assessment Books, moreover, noted that there were no buildings or other improvements on Lot 31. The assessed value of the lot for each of those years was $600. In 1836, after several years' failure by Isabella Thompson to pay real estate taxes, the Corporation of Georgetown foreclosed on her properties. Lot 31 was assessed for $750, equalling the two years' worth of back taxes that she had not paid. On January 24, 1837, John Cox, the Mayor of Georgetown, deeded Lot 31 to William W. Corcoran. Evidently, Isabella Thompson managed soon after to come up with the unpaid taxes, because on October 7, 1837, William W. Corcoran deeded Lot 31 back to her.
Isabella Thompson died in 1845 or in 1846. In her Last Will and Testament, probated on October 7, 1857, she advised her executors to sell Lot 31 and divide the proceeds between her son James Thompson and her daughter Isabella Morton, widow of William Morton. The executors of her Last Will and Testament were her son James Thompson and grandson Laurence M. Morton. On February 28, 1853, James Thompson and Lawrence M. Morton deeded Lot 31 to Lawrence Morton's brother, Cyprian A. Morton. Sometime in the 1850s Cyprian A. Morton died intestate and Lawrence M. Morton was appointed administrator of his Estate. The Assessment Book for 1859 stated that the Lot had on December 31, 1857, been conveyed to William Morton and the heirs of C. A. Morton. The 1855, 56, 57, 58, and 59 Assessment Books all noted that there were no improvements on Lot 31 and gave its assessed value for each of those years as $690. On December 23, 1861, the Corporation of Georgetown transferred to Isabella Morton's Estate a 10 foot strip of land running the entire east side of the property. The transfer was by a quit claim deed to Lawrence M. Morton for "Lot 31 on west side Frederick between Prospect and First Streets, being about 99' in length by 10' in breadth" (This deed, however, was not recorded until April 22, 1864).
An 1861 map of Georgetown shows not only all the area's squares, lots, and streets, but also where each individual building existed. This map discloses no structures built anywhere near the northwest corner of Prospect and Frederick. Some kind of building, though, does appear a little further north on Frederick, towards the rear end of Lot 31 (i.e., just south of where now an alley reaches 34th St). Perhaps this was a barn or a shed. Whether or not in those years there was a dwelling place on the site is unclear. [After 1900, though, there was certainly a small home at this spot, because the city directories then begin listing a residence as at 1236 34th Street.