Posts Tagged The Rambler

Email from a descendant of an Anacostia lost tribe [The Andersons]

Home of Lingarn B. Anderson

Home of Lingarn B. Anderson

In the past two years I have received a significant volume of unsolicited emails from descendants of families that owned businesses, land and people in the immediate and surrounding environs of old Anacostia, previously old Prince George’s County. I’ve also heard from former residents of the German Orphanage on Good Hope Road. Many of these people are searching for a history which has only been sparingly and selectively told. William and I are not able to tell an exhaustive history of Old Anacostia but it will be the history of the lost tribes, a history yet told. B

Below is an example of the messages we’ve been fortunate and thankful to receive.

I was viewing some of your materials on the net as I was researching Good Hope Road and the many direct ancestors of mine that lived out there along with many cousins and associated families.  The main line goes through Tom Anderson with his blacksmith shop across from the tavern and his house up on the hill.  He is my third great grandfather on my Dad’s side.  His second wife was Martha Mitchell, daughter of Sarah Ann Jenkins (m1 Joseph Boiseau, m2 Richard Mitchell, m3 George Arthur Smoot).

Some of the ancestors and relations are Captain William T Anderson (grandson of Tom) of MPD; cousin Lingan B Anderson of MPD; James T Boiseau (son of Sarah’s first marriage), Notley Anderson (son of Tom); Charles F Anderson (grandson of Tom) who was postmaster at Little America, Antarctica on the 2nd Byrd expedition; Richard Boiseau(grandson of Sarah’s first marriage), a reporter who covered the Surratt trial watching a cousin put on trial for a most heinous crime.  Many more Andersons can be found in the area who I place as brothers of Tom and their descendants.  John Anderson of Anacostia, another blacksmith who is a son of Tom and it looks like maybe the Rambler had a couple photos of him.

The Good Hope Tavern looks to have passed through family hands and associated families.  I believe when it was called Smoot’s Tavern that at that time it was in the hands of Sarah Ann Jenkins (m3 to George Arthur Smoot).  I know later it was called Jenkins Tavern but I am not sure if it went into Sarah’s brother’s hands.  His name was Thomas Jenkins with wife Charity who the Surratts lived with when their house burned down.  I think it was his Tavern at some point since I believe I saw it associated with a T J Jenkins and he lived in the area.  Some details I am still trying to nail down or better document.  I guess later, the Vermillions owned it since I see articles and pictures on that.  The extended Andersons do have the Vermillions as an affiliated family although I have nothing yet to indicate these Vermillion as closely related.

I still need to build better connections but do believe this line extends back through Captain Richard Anderson of the Maryland line in the Revolutionary War.

On my Dad’s other side was a liquor runner, Paul Schweitzer, who lived at and worked for Jimmy Lafontaine at the  gambling joint. Pardon me, I meant to say Men’s Athletic Club or something like that.  Dad would comment that as a boy, he would buy donuts from a neighbor who made them and take the donuts up to the club where his Dad worked and sale the donuts for a lot more making some decent change in those days for a young boy.

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“Rambler Finds a Story on Origin of Good Hope” [Evening Star, June 29, 1924]

Good Hope Road SE“The road leads to Good Hope, but before answering its call let me sit in the shade of a pine tree and tell you a story about an old friend of mine. His name is Herman Davis – Herman W. Davis is the full name. I think that everybody in Southeast Washington knows Herman. He has lived there long enough to get acquainted. He was born there seventy-nine years ago and he has stuck pretty close to the land of his birth. There are many interesting things about Herman, and one of them is that he has a good story about the origin of the name “Good Hope.” Herman’s father, Addison L. Davis, was born at Fredericksburg in 1814 and was married there to Miss Anne Dorothy Farrish, a beautiful girl of that ancient city and of a family whose family bore a brave part in the American revolution.

Addison Davis was graduated by the University of Virginia and was skillful in the arts or construing Latin and speaking French. He has, as Herman told me, learned something of the language of the Indians of this region. He came to Washington in 1840. And here we will let Herman take his place on this page in quote marks: “When I was quite a small boy my father took me walking to Good Hope, and on the Ridge road we came to a place where the woods had been cut away and where we got a fine view of the Eastern Branch. My father stopped and told me that the chief of the Anacostia Indians had stood there many years before and said in the Anacostia language: ‘Hope! Hope! Good Hope! This is Good Hope!’ He used the words the Indian has used, but if I ever knew them I have forgotten them.”

It is an interesting story. That savage did not not, of course say “Good Hope” in the way we say it. He did not even say “spe anomoque impletus,” nor even “bonne esperance,” but what he said sounded like “Ojibewaxon.” The Indian stood there, pointed to the shining, shimmering Eastern Branch, then raised his arms as though he would [shake] hands with heaven and said “Ojibewaxon.” Perhaps it was classic Anacostian for “Good Hope.”


Evening Star, “Rambler Finds a Story on Origin of Good Hope.” June 29, 1924, pg. 77

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The Rambler on “Good Hope Road” [Evening Star, July 6, 1924]

Good Hope Road SE“It was one of those roads which lead out of Washington, and also into Washington, that depending on the way one is going or coming. Many main roads near Washington have this dual character or dual direction. It was one of those gray, level, shadeless roads, bordered by signs, gas stations and ice cream, and sausage refectories which nearly all of us have come to call a good road. It was without the virtues and the charm of a bad road.

Once it was called a quiet way, going down a hill to a ford where a stream sang above yellow sand and white pebbles and then climbed another hill between banks draped with green briar, trumpet, honeysuckle and Virginia creeper. There were graceful bends in the road and every few yards an oak or a pine of solemn dignity laid its shade across the way. But progress put its hand upon this road and made it good and homely.”


Evening Star, “Suspicions of Rambler Are Aroused By One Who Calls Him ‘Brother.'” July 6, 1924, p. 69.  By the “Rambler,” John Harry Shannon.

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