By James Croggon, The Evening Star, November 30, 1907 [pt. 3, p. 1]
Though that portion of Washington near the old Long Bridge never showed, in the old days, as much development as more favored localities, in some respects it was as important as any part. There is associated some history in common with sections in which Greenleaf, Morris & Nicholson, Tom Law and others operated, but the buildings the former contracted to erect, a house on every third lot, did not materialize. From that coterie there was only one small building in evidence when the old corporation of Washington took jurisdiction in 1802. It was a small frame cottage erected by Capt. W. M. Duncanson in 1797, and in which he resided from 1802 until his death in 1812. This overlooked the river between 12th and 13th streets, and could not compare with the fine brick houses on N street near 4½ and on South Carolina avenue near 6th street southeast, where he resided before his fortune had flown.
Archibald Cheshire appeared on the scene in 1813 and was engaged in the wood business several years on the wharf, residing in a fine brick residence erected in 1817 on the northwest corner of Maryland avenue and 13½ street. Capt. Peter Lenox, the father of Walter Lenox, the mayor of the city about 1850, settled in 1817 on the south side of Maryland avenue between 13th and 13½ streets. He was a well-known builder of his day, the master carpenter at the Capitol for many years, and was largely interested in corporation matter [sic] as a public-spirited citizen. His residence, erected about 1817, on an elevation, afforded a fine view in every direction. Josiah F. Caldwell bought the two-storied brick building erected by Aaron Van Coble under an agreement with J. M. Varnum, who had purchased the square in 1820 and made a subdivision. Mr. Caldwell was a resident here till his death about 1828 and had filled a position in the second auditor's office several years. The family were here for many years thereafter.
Bulk of Improvement
In the neighborhood on 13½ street there were Jacob Roscup and Jacob Eckhart, butchers; Michael Gilligan, a bricklayer, and Fielder R. Dorsett and Peter Hepburn, carpenters. The last named was a lifelong resident of South Washington and one of the best-known builders in that section and served many terms as commissioner and assessor in the old seventh ward. Mr. Dorsett later moved to the neighborhood of the White House and carried on business for more than half a century.
South Side of Maryland Avenue
The Lenox residence on Maryland avenue became about 1840 the home of Col. W. B. Randolph, and he lived there for many years, until nearly the civil war. Connected by blood and marriage with leading families of Virginia and Maryland, Mrs. Randolph, a daughter of Gen. John M. Lingan, one of the original proprietors, the house was not unknown in the social life of Washington. Col. Randolph had before resided in Georgetown, where he commanded the Georgetown Rifles. Coming to Washington, he retained his interest in the military, holding the position of inspector general of the District. He entered the service of the Treasury in the days of Munroe [sic], serving to his death in the Lincoln administration, for nearly twenty-five years being the chief clerk of the treasurer. For a number of years, as a member of the boards of public school trustees and health and in other capacities, he served the corporation.
In the Forties
When it is remembered that in the olden time wild fowl and fish were more abundant on the river than now it is not surprising that gunning and fishing were favorite pastimes, and with some a business; nor that most boys before out of their teens were at home in or out of the water. And besides the boys acquiring such tastes as are developed in such surroundings they were able to hold their own with any of the rival gangs prone to rough-and-tumble and stone fights in Washington's middle ages. Nevertheless, in such surroundings an admiral of the navy, Robley D. Evans, spent much of his boyhood and attended the primary school of Mrs. Southworth, standing well up on the premium lists, as also did many useful members of society. Among whom may be noted Messrs. D. B. Johnson, who represented the seventh ward in the councils; G. T. Raub and J. J. Shedd, who after were in the councils from the second ward.
Owned by Cazanave Family
The widow lived only a few years at the home established about 1790 on Delaware avenue between M and N streets, which was standing twenty years ago. After her husband's death she resided on the site of the Arlington Hotel, H street and Vermont avenue, in a colonial frame house, and later spent a few years at her father's home, the old mansion house on G street between 9th and 10th streets southwest. For Mrs. Cazanave the handsome old house was erected about 1812, facing 14th street south of D street, and she resided there with her son and daughter till her death. The daughter married Maj. Park G. Howle when he was a lieutenant of the Marine Corps, a gallant officer who distinguished himself in our first battle in the east, about 1832, and in subsequent wars, and the title passed to him. With an interesting family of daughters in a fine house in well-kept grounds, and possession of extensive acquaintance in the official and social life of the metropolis, the house was well known to old-time society.