Tom Crocker

Henry Courtney and Pepper Van Noppen’s interview with Tom Crocker is an important and valuable addition to CAG’s Oral History Project. Much of Mr. Crocker’s interview focuses on the very early years of Georgetown from 1751 to the 1820s, it’s real heyday as an important tobacco port before the crash in the tobacco market which changed the nature of the Georgetown community considerably.

The interview focuses on the daily life of Georgetown as a port city on the Potomac River. Tom’s relatives lived in Georgetown in its formative years and one fought in the Revolution and was killed in Baltimore defending the federal press. Tom explores every aspect of life in Georgetown during this period from the architecture of homes being built, the commercial life below what is now M street, the establishment of banks along Bank Street, the markets, the life of craftsmen and the role of a number of important Scots who were founders of much of the successful enterprises in Georgetown, and much more.

Mr. Crocker has done considerable research into the history of his own family as well as exploring the founding and growth of Christ Church for its recent bicentennial. Imagine yearly turkey drives originating in Southern Maryland and ending at pens along 31st Street, large ocean-going vessels docked in Rock Creek, which was a much larger body of water in the second half of the 1700s. Many streets were unpaved and most yards contained cows and chickens. The interview contains much information about standing homes and commercial establishments built in the 1800 and still occupied today.

Interview Date:
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Henry Courtney and Pepper van Noppen

Crocker, Tom     4/23/19

Interviewers: Henry Courtney and Pepper van Noppen

Henry Courtney: The Citizens Association of Georgetown is grateful to Tom Crocker for this interview for the oral history project. The interview takes place on Tuesday, April 23rd, a bright and cheerful day. We are in the memorial room of Christ Church, Georgetown on the corner of 31st and O street.

The interviewers are Pepper van Noppen and Henry Courtney.

Pepper van Noppen: What would surprise the readers of this interview about Georgetown as a port city? Obviously, before you were alive…

Tom Crocker:  No, actually not entirely. I remember when they did have ships, when an oil tanker would come up. There was a dock on Roosevelt Island, and there was still one ship servicing the port of Georgetown. This would have been back in the 1950s. Even though the dock was not in Georgetown, it was right across the river from it.

That was before the low bridges were built. Memorial Bridge was a draw bridge that would open up for the ships to pass. When the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge was built, not a draw bridge and then the 14th Street Bridge, that was sort of the end of that.

Georgetown has always been a pretty industrialized place. People don’t realize. Now it’s a quaint community with high‑priced houses. In the 19th century…in its real heyday…Really, since its founding in 1751 up through the 1820s when there was a crash in the tobacco market, it was a tobacco port.

Alexandria was its great rival. Alexandria was a port for Virginia. Georgetown serviced southern Maryland and the tobacco plantations.

At the time of the founding of Christ Church in 1817, Georgetown was the 19th largest city in America. Today’s equivalent would be Seattle. I think that’s an interesting statistic which puts it in perspective.

Henry:  What would the street scene be in those days? Those are vivid images of both Alexandria and Georgetown.

Tom:  Wisconsin Avenue was called High Street. It was the High Street like in any English town. It was the main street. It was really in my lifetime, too, until the last 20 years or so. M Street was called Bridge Street because it led to a bridge crossing to the city of Washington eventually. Those are the two main commercial axes of the town.

There were warehouses down on the waterfront on what is now K Street, tobacco warehouses, and at the mouth of Rock Creek. That was where Georgetown really started, with the tobacco warehouses. They’d roll the tobacco in on these rolling roads, one of which was Wisconsin Avenue, or the High Street one,  and in Hogsheads.

The earliest shipping point was at the mouth of Rock Creek where it flows into the Potomac River. Back then it was a much larger body of water. Ocean‑going ships could come into Rock Creek and dock. That was really the genesis of Georgetown as established by the Scottish merchants in the early18th century.

What would strike people probably as somewhat different is that almost everybody had a cow. They grew their own food. In looking through the historical records, which are available in the Peabody Room, only the rich people had horses. A lot of people just walked, but almost everybody had a cow in the back yard and chickens.

On P Street they drove wild turkeys in from Southern Maryland. There’s a big turkey pen. It’s just a block from here. They drove them in once or twice a year. I have some of this in the lecture I gave about the history of Christ Church.

Henry:  That’s an image I remember ‑‑ turkeys and cattle in Georgetown.

Tom:  I think that people would find that somewhat different. The actual population of Georgetown then, I don’t recall offhand. It was around 5,000 or so. It’s really not that far off now. It’s around 10,000. It has been like that certainly in my lifetime.

[The 1800 census reported the population in Georgetown at 5,120, which included 1,449 slaves and 227 free blacks.

Lesko, Kathleen Menzies; Valerie Babb; Carroll R. Gibbs (1991). Black Georgetown Remembered: A History Of Its Black Community From The Founding Of “The Town of George”. Georgetown University Press.]


Henry:  As an opening, you mentioned that Georgetown is now a place of expensive houses in quaint neighborhoods. Were they, the people who lived in the row houses in Georgetown in those days, tradesmen and regular folk?

Tom:   For example, I know in doing research on my own house which is not a row house but a freestanding house, a fairly large one.  It was owned by a saddle maker who had a saddle shop at what is now Wisconsin & N, and then he walked a block and a half to his house.

Further back, it was owned by General James McCubbin Lingan who was the first customs collector of Georgetown. That was the earliest recorded deed I found for the property. He didn’t live there, but he owned it. He bought it in 1786 and there was some kind of a house there at that point.

I think his brother Nicholas Lingan may have lived there at some point. General Lingan actually is a second cousin to me. He was a quite interesting character. I’m moving from the question. He fought in the Revolutionary War, was captured, and put up quite a resistance when he was a prisoner on one of the British hulks in New York, the Jersey I think.  Eventually he was promoted to General. He was killed by a mob in Baltimore in 1812. He and Light‑Horse Harry Lee went over to protect a federalist press, a printing press or a newspaper publisher. The Baltimore mob killed Lingan and they poured hot wax into Lee’s eyes. It didn’t kill him, but eventually it broke him and he died .


You got a variety of people living in these houses then, ranging from a guy like Lingan to tradesmen. Of course, there was a significant Afro‑American population here as well, enslaved largely, but not all. It was really a gamut of people.

The other thing that struck me in doing the Christ Church bicentennial research was how transient a lot of these people were. It’s just like today in Washington.  People would come and go. Some of them would get jobs with the federal government. A lot of them held multiple jobs.

There would be a merchant here in Georgetown. He would also have a sinecure at the Treasury Department which paid him $1,000, $2,000 a year. Apparently, it was not viewed as a conflict of interest at that time to hold down several jobs like that. A lot of these people would have eventually moved to the City of Washington.

Francis Scott Key, even though he lived for many years in Georgetown, eventually moved to the City of Washington partly because of the disruption caused by the construction of the canal which was near his house. In that sense, I think it’s still similar.

Pepper:  What was the high society?

Tom:  Georgetown Assembly, which largely consisted of members of Christ Church, is traced back to the 1790s, and it has been held continuously to this day, except during the Civil War. There was a higher level of society in early days. A lot of the wealthier people here descended from or were related to plantation owners in Southern Maryland.

For example, the Peter Family.  They had ties with the Lee family across the Potomac at the Custis-Lee Mansion.  They would actually communicate with each other with signal flags flown from their respective homes and their children often spent their early years interchanged between the houses.  There was much interaction, and people called on one another socially a lot. They’re probably hard to quantify, but there were at least two or three dozen very prominent families here who were here in that late 18th to early 19th century period.


Henry:  Tell us some of those names.

Tom:  Beall, Peter Dunlop. I’m a Beall. Williams. Baron de Bodisco, the Russian ambassador, lived here for many years and married Harriet Beall Williams. He was 57 and she was 15. That was quite a scandal.

Tom:  But the marriage worked very successfully. They had a number of children who were baptized at Christ Church. In one case, I was looking at the records and the godfather was “the Czar of all the Russias,” who I guess at that point was Nicholas I or Alexander. I’m not sure which.

Henry:  Those people would’ve entertained each other lavishly. They would’ve been in touch with their friends and acquaintances all over this part of the country?

Tom:  I would say that’s correct. Including in Alexandria.   People would travel by boat on the river. That was how people traveled, actually, because the roads were so terrible. George Washington was back and forth here a lot.

People from Georgetown would visit people in Prince George’s County or in Virginia, the same planter class. I could give you more names, but I’d have to go look in my file. They’re well‑known Georgetown names of Dunlop, Laird.   Dunlop intermarried, as I said, Bealls, and the Williamses. They are at least three dozen or so.

Henry:  I’d like to know if there was a rowdy side to this bustling place on the Potomac River. You’ve alluded to some scandalous behavior. Was it a rough place to live?

Tom:  That’s a very good question. I would tend to think it probably was. There were a lot of saw mills. Even before they built the canal, it was a port city. You had sailors coming in. There were taverns. It had a rough edge when I was growing up in the ’50s. M Street had a lot of dive bars and places that you wouldn’t really want to go into. For example, there was the Silver Dollar tavern, which had two round windows like silver dollars.

I would think certainly down towards the riverfront it did have that. There was probably a fair bit of drinking, gambling, cockfighting, things like that. There were duels. The merchants tended to live up on the higher ground on the ridges. They, in fact, often had subterranean tunnels leading down to their warehouses.

We discovered one. I knew they were there. I know people who have gone down there. They said they were infested with rats. Below these larger houses there are tunnels that lead down to the river from many of those properties.

Pepper:  Some of those tunnels were later used ‑‑ were they? ‑‑ by the Underground Railroad?

Tom:  I think that’s a myth. These were almost all slaveholders who owned these properties, so that’s probably unlikely.

Pepper:  How about the spot where Dean & DeLuca is now, that was a…?

Tom:  That was a market. Western Market was on K Street, over closer to George Washington Circle. I remember that because my parents used to…I used to go there as a little boy. That’s where they’d get their food. The man who sold chickens, the dairy and egg guy. It had many stalls. There were no supermarkets back then.

Dean & Deluca was the Georgetown Market, which was defunct by the time I came along. It was an auto parts store when I came along and was on M street, now Dean and Deluca. (NB: Not any more as of October 2019, D&D folded).

Henry:  Are there services for education or commerce that existed then that we would know now?

Tom:  There were some privately endowed schools. There’s one right here on this block. It was the Lancastrian School. It’s just a couple of doors down. There were endowed educational institutions which serviced the population, at least the white part of the population.

The schools were segregated at that time. I can’t really think what else might be an institution around here that goes back.

Henry:  How about commercial places where people would get things for daily life?

Tom:  There were stores along what’s now M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, for example. As early as 1817 when Christ Church was founded ‑‑ again, I know this from my research ‑‑ Thomas Claggett, who was one of our founders, owned a grocery store down near 30th and M Street.

There is actually a photograph of what it looked like more or less at that time, a little later obviously. They didn’t have photography in 1817. Even though people grew a lot of their own food, there were corner grocery stores, just as there were when I was a boy.

You’d buy your food from Western Market for the fresh produce and for the meat. Then the canned goods you’d get at the little corner grocery store, of which there were many.

I remember when I was a small boy, we lived at 3309 Q Street. There was a corner grocery store down there at 33rd and Q.   I had a black nanny named Emma. She called me “man.” She said, “Man, don’t you talk to those people. They’re white trash.” Right in the grocery store.

Almost every little corner had a grocery store. I remember almost every block had mounting blocks for horses and hitching posts and watering troughs. They were there when I was a boy. I went away to college in the 1960s. When I came back, they were gone. Whatever happened to them, I don’t know.

Pepper:  What about streetcars?

Tom:  Yes. I used to ride them to school. They went up Wisconsin Avenue. There was one that went out P Street to Glen Echo. There was one on M Street. They were there at the same time as the buses.

One of my earliest recollections is probably being a little toddler and sitting at the window of the house on Q Street and seeing the silver‑grey DC Transit buses owned by O. Roy Chalk chugging up and down Q Street.

Also, there used to be black Metropolitan Police vans, which back in those days they unflatteringly called “paddy wagons.” Those are among my earliest memories of Georgetown.

Henry:  What factors contributed to the decline of Georgetown as a port city? The C&O Canal had to be a part of commerce in those early days too.

Tom:  Yes. Clearly, that’s true. I should’ve mentioned that. It was boom and bust. The tobacco market collapsed in the late 1820s. Georgetown went into a very, very deep depression trying to figure out what next to do.

It eventually settled upon flour milling. There were established a number of flour mills down on the industrial waterfront of Georgetown. I remember they were still there when I was a boy, some of them still functioning, and a very odiferous byproduct which you could smell all over Georgetown.

Henry:  Were they factories?

Tom:  Mills. They grind it and then do whatever they do to it to make it marketable. Of course, the canal was never really an economically viable proposition because the B&O Railroad came along very shortly after it was completed, within 10 years, but didn’t totally put it out of business. The canal lingered until the 1920s. The railroads were hauling the coal, not the canal boats. Yes, it was an important part of the commerce of Georgetown from the 1820s through the 19th century, but again, of diminishing importance. There was one other thing you were asking me about commerce.

Henry:  What contributed to the decline?

Tom:  Decline, yeah. The other thing, they set up a number of sawmills on the waterfront, too. They were powered by water. I’m not sure whether they were powered by the river water or water that was sluiced off the canal. There was a very active…

Henry:  Lumber business?

Tom:  Lumber business, yes. In fact, one of the founders of Christ Church was a lumberman as well. In addition, there was a major cannon foundry just up the canal. I’ve seen traces of it, at least 20, 30 years ago. You can still see remnants of it there. That is where were cast the cannons for the War of 1812. I think it was owned by a fellow named Threlkeld. It was really one of only a few foundries our country had.

[Editor’s note.  The Georgetown Foundry was owned by Henry Foxhall.]

There were very few foundries in the United States. We had a real problem getting or manufacturing the armaments to be able to fight in the Revolution and in the War of 1812. This was a critical facility.

Henry:  Was the population of Georgetown at that time a mix of nationalities?

Tom:  That’s a good question. I would say to a limited degree. It was mostly Scots and English among the white population. As I said, they were probably sailors that came in and out who might have been from anywhere.

The people who tended to live here were pretty much southern Maryland stock, Scots and English, some Irish as well. Corcoran was very prominent and was Irish. Then, of course, there was the black population.

There’s a famous old African.  His name is Yarrow and his portrait is up in the Peabody Room. He was painted by Peale. He was a slave. He was eventually freed, made money, and actually lent money to some of the white merchants, including some of the founders of Christ Church, which they, in one case, didn’t pay back.

There was a lawsuit. Old Yarrow won it. There’s a statement on it. He was a Muslim, spoke Arabic, was literate. He could read and write in Arabic. I’m not quite sure where he was from. Somewhere in West Africa, but there’s been a lot of research on him. He was a very vivid and well‑known person in Georgetown, living up on Dent Place.

[ For more information on Yarrow Mamout]

Pepper:   How about banking since this was the center for commerce?

Tom:  Yes, this was a banking center. There were several banks here. I don’t know if you know where Bank Street is. It’s over off of M Street close to the Key Bridge. There’s a very steep hill there. There’s a picture. I used this in the Christ Church history lecture. There’s a Bank of the District of Columbia on that street.   That’s why it’s called Bank Street, not because it’s on a bank, but the bank was on the street. [laughs] There was more than one bank. There were several banks established in the early 19th century in Georgetown. That was pretty common. The merchants would get together, pool their money, and set up a bank to service the needs of the financing that they had to have for these ships.

When they owned these ships, they didn’t just own one. They owned shares of them because it was a risky business. Sometimes they couldn’t get insurance. There were privateers operating. There were Algerian pirates operating. A lot of the trade from Georgetown was with the Caribbean. Maybe a little with Europe, but mostly the Caribbean.

Still, if you were a ship owner, that’s a very risky prospect. They would own quarter shares or 16th shares. They’d allocate the risk by doing that.

Henry:  What was the division between the working classes in Georgetown?

Tom:  My impression on this is that there were a number of wealthy people. A lot of people made a lot of money from the tobacco trade and related services. There was an artisan class.  I remember an old stone used for mounting horses on N Street that was still there when I was a boy.  There was a saddlery, Stombocks Saddlery, where there was a huge big wooden horse out front near where Clyde’s is today on M Street.  The horse had a horse blanket on, a bridle and saddle, and it was there for years and years until they  went out of business the early ’60s.

There were people like that who provided essentials, stores and craftsmen who made saddles, clothing, groceries and timber for building.

Pepper:  Craftsmen?

Tom:  Craftsmen. More than that, there were also artisans. A good example would be Charles Burnett who was a silversmith, who produced some of the best‑known silver in the early 19th century in America. He was a founder of Christ Church. His studio was on what is now the south side of M Street between 31st and what’s now Wisconsin. The building is still there.

He produced the communion silver for Christ Church which we still use. There were talented artisans as well as more prosaic craftsmen, probably the next layer of social stature. You would have laborers, the free laborers, who worked on the canal or helped build buildings ‑‑ masons and whatnot. Then of course you had a slave population here which were primarily household slaves.

Pepper:  Were some of those from the Caribbean since we did so much business with them?

Tom:  It’s hard to say. I would imagine most of them…given the Southern Maryland connections of the property owners, were probably people who came from Africa to work the plantations in Maryland and for whatever reason either gravitated towards or were selected to be household slaves.

This was not really an agricultural period in Georgetown per se, so you didn’t have big teams of slaves harvesting crops. It was much more of a household thing.  Perhaps also artisans may have had Africans help in their shops.

Henry:  Was there marketing and selling of slaves in Georgetown?

Tom:  I don’t know. There was in Alexandria.  I don’t know about Georgetown.

Pepper:  We’re talking a little bit about horses. Do you remember where the stables were?

Tom:  The stables were generally with the houses.

Pepper:  Each one?

Tom:  In the back. Yes. We have one in the back of our house.  Individual families had buggies and horses to draw them. It wasn’t as if there were a big central stable.

Although, I would imagine they did have street cars that were horse‑drawn back in the late 19th century. Probably the car barn at the foot of Key Bridge was where they kept horses, I would imagine. Looking at the inventories of personal goods, I was really surprised at how few people had horses. Horses belonged really to the top echelon.

Henry:  Could you describe the layout of a typical house in Georgetown? Say the house of a wealthy family and then the house of a tradesman. I know it’s very different and people dig kitchens out of basements and change things.

Tom:  I can’t much speak to the very earliest houses here ‑‑ which would date from the 1740s, ’50s, and so forth ‑‑ because Old Stone House is the only known surviving one. Your typical early 19th century Georgetown house followed a set pattern. The rectory here at Christ Church is an excellent example of it.

My house is also an example of it. They follow exactly the same pattern. You enter the house. The doorway is on the right. There’s a long hallway with a staircase going up to the next floor.

To the left, there’s a double parlor and a sitting room off to the now double room, high ceilings, two fireplaces. Kitchen is off in the back. The main kitchen has been converted into a dining room. You go upstairs…

Pepper:  A double parlor was common?

Tom:  Yes. Or they’ve been converted to a double parlor. In some cases, there was a front parlor and a back-sitting room.  The front parlor was used for more formal occasions. For example, I know the research and history of my house. I found out there had been a wedding held in the front parlor. There were also funerals held in the front parlor.

Pepper:  Parlor would have been the word to denote that room?

Tom:  I would think. At least that’s what I would call it. I think they did then as well.

Pepper:  Where was the kitchen? In a separate building?

Tom:  The kitchen often was in a separate building. That was the case I think in my house. We have an old cooking fireplace down in the cellar. There are very thick walls. They’re about this thick, about 18 inches.  I think at some point they put the two together and made it into one house, the kitchen being in the basement. That was actually fairly common, to have the kitchen below the living area.

Pepper:  Was that because of fire?

Tom:  Fire danger. Yes. That’s why they had the thick walls. They kept it separate. As these houses were added onto, they combined them and made them one. At least I think that was probably a fairly consistent pattern.

You go upstairs and the layout of the room is exactly the same as it was on the lower floor with the staircases going up the one side, and then bedrooms, no closets because they didn’t have closets back then.

I’ve been in the rectory upstairs. I was working on something with the Rev. Tim Cole. He has a little study there. I have a study. It’s the same analogous room. I said, “Gosh, this is just like my room!”


Tom:  It’s the same thing! In our case, we have old woodwork in there, old doors with these big locks. I’ve traced the history of those locks. They date from the 1820s. They were originally from England. I think they have the same at the Rector’s. It’s honestly identical.

Another typical one is John Macomber’s house, further down N Street from us. I walked through his house. It’s the same pattern. There was sort of a pattern. There’s some history to that, I think. You’d have to look at the architectural historians to find out why that was the case.

I believe I read somewhere that a well‑known architect, William Thornton, designed a house for George Washington on Capitol Hill, which was a double house along those lines. It was split in half. It became popular. They copied that and used it a lot in the early 1800s in Georgetown.



A working man’s house would have been much, much smaller. It probably would’ve had a shop on the ground floor like Old Stone House. I can’t recall exactly what the owner did. He had a shop in there to make whatever he was making, living quarters above.

Probably an outside kitchen as well, a privy. Everybody would have a privy. That was all they had.

Henry:  I was going to ask about that. You had mentioned…

Tom:  Very uncomfortable [laughs] I’m sure. Again, they would have had a well probably to get their water, or it was drained off the roof. They were all collected. The archaeologists find wells to be a goldmine because everybody would throw their trash down there and broken things. It tells a lot about how people lived when the archaeologists are able to access a well.

Pepper:  There were all those small houses that are over by Rose Park. I know in the Civil War some of the hospital staff, nurses and what not, supposedly live there. No?

Tom:  I don’t know. Could be. I’m not saying no.

Pepper:  I was just thinking. Of course, that area has African American churches. I was thinking maybe that’s where many of their parishoners lived.

Tom:  I don’t know whether that predated the Civil War or came about the time of the Civil War or shortly after. When I was growing up, yes, there was an African American community in that area. A lot of the residents were doctors and lawyers. They’d been in Washington for a long, long time.

There was a poorer African American community down in what they now call West End. The ones on P Street were, I would say, very solidly middle‑class people. There was a somewhat rougher area down around M Street in the West End, just across Rock Creek,where there used to be a Sealtest milk factory and a couple of car dealerships.



That’s the area between George Washington Circle and the M Street Bridge. Being a little boy here, there was sometimes interaction, not always pleasant, between the kids from Georgetown and those kids.

Henry:  Emancipation had to be a big event in Georgetown. Did your research yield anything about what that meant in Georgetown?

Tom:  Yes.

Henry:  Of course, it meant the slaves were freed.

Tom:  Yes.

Henry:  What was Georgetown like around Emancipation?

Tom:   It is interesting. There are a lot of records about that. The slaves were free in the District of Columbia before the Emancipation Proclamation. The plan was for the government to buy their freedom from the slaveholders, which they did. All the slaveholders were asked to submit descriptions of the slaves and what they were worth and what they did and so forth for purposes of compensation.

A lot of those records exist at the Peabody Room. It’s fascinating to read them because everybody’s saying, “Bessie is the best seamstress in the whole world.” “Harold is the best teamster. He’s the strongest.” Then somebody else is a master chef. They were inflating all this in order to get compensated more.

Tom:   Yet, when they were advertising for runaway slaves, 20 years before, it was not very flattering descriptions. In the seat of juxtaposition, you’ll be able to reflect on human nature when you read these things.

Henry:  I think we’ve come to the happy part of this interview. Talk about growing up in Georgetown, and your family. We’d like to know your origins and where you lived? Who your neighbors might have been? Some more of these wonderful insights about your own childhood.

Tom:  I’ve lived here since 1949 when I was born and, as I’ve said earlier, some of my earliest memories were seeing the buses go up and down Q Street. I originally lived at 3309 Q and our next‑door neighbors had 23 Siamese cats.


Henry:  Oh my God! What was their name?

Tom:  Ward. That was interesting. Bodies were found in the cellar. This was when the Wards were digging out their cellar.  The house and foundation had been built on top of the old Presbyterian Burying Ground, which, despite what most people think, there were bodies buried there beyond where Volta Park is now.

A few houses on Q Street were simply built over the graves. They were digging out the cellar or something and Mr. Ward found a lead casket. Being a rather daring character, he decided to open it up and found a little 18th century girl there with blonde hair.

There has been a lot of speculation that that burial area North of Q Street was for the black population, but that was not the case. At least, when he exhumed this one, she was a little blonde girl with a dress.

They were always finding bodies underneath the place, all the time. You didn’t want to dig much around there.

Henry:  Give us your parent’s names.

Tom:  My father’s name is the same as mine, Thomas Edward Crocker. My mother was Miriam Hedges Crocker.

Henry:  And your siblings’ names.

Tom:  I don’t have any.

Pepper:  And what were their occupations?

Tom:  My father was a civil engineer. He was from New England.He was an Army Reserve officer. During the 1930s he worked as an engineer for the Dupont Company. He was mobilized soon after Hitler invaded Poland in ’39.

He was a little bit older. He was not in combat in World War II. He was involved as an administrator of various Army bases, training pilots in the American Army Air Corps and in the British RAF, the Chinese and others. He wound up at the Pentagon in 1945. That’s why my parents were here. I was born here in ’49.

My mother was essentially a decorator. She had a shop on Wisconsin starting in 1947, which did lamps and lamp shades and decorating and what not. She had many commissions with embassies around town and all the houses here and the Kennedy White House. We still have a couple of lamps the Kennedys had. I got to meet Jackie. She knew everybody.

Henry:  What was that business called?

Tom:  Miriam Crocker. She was well known. She was active here at Christ Church. She was the second woman on the Vestry in Christ Church in the history here.

Pepper:  How old were you when you met Jackie Kennedy?

Tom:  It was probably between the time he was President‑elect and before his inauguration. She was working on the lamps for the White House. I remember going over to their house when they lived on N Street, and meeting her.

I also recall the day he was inaugurated. We had a huge snowstorm the night before. It’s funny, actually. I live in the house I grew up in, which helps explain a little of this, on N Street. There was a huge snowstorm. There was about 24 inches of snow. Late at night, the Secret Service came knocking on our door. They were trying to find Joe Alsop’s house.

Kennedy wanted to go there. It was maybe 11 o’clock at night. He had been at one of the balls. Mainly, he wanted to go and have terrapin soup with Joe Alsop. We said, “Oh, he lives just down there on Dumbarton.” The entourage took off and went down there.

The next morning, my cousin was here. She and I got on the sled and pulled it down the street. We watched the Kennedys leave their house on N Street. Life was a lot simpler, then. You could just stand there or be there, no security.

A lot of the press was there photographing it. The neighbors were there. Everybody applauded as they came out to go to inaugural. I remember his top hat.

Henry:  You were a teenager then? Twelve or thirteen?

Tom:  This was 1961. I was almost 12.

Henry: [laughs] Those are vivid memories. No secret service? No one watching?

Tom:  There were probably some, but they let people come close. I’m sure he had secret service. It was a very light detail and presence.

Henry:  That would be an exciting time to live in Georgetown when the Kennedys lived here. There must have been lots of talk and interest in their whereabouts and what they did.

Tom:  Yes, there was. I remember seeing John Kennedy playing softball at Volta Place Park when he was a senator. He used to go down there occasionally and knock around the balls with the neighborhood kids.

Henry: [laughs] And Scoop Jackson. There’s that iconic photo with Scoop.

[ Kennedy, Jackson, Mansfield playing basketball in Volta Park]

Tom:  Could be. I don’t know that one. Then of course after Kennedy was assassinated, Jackie lived on our block. I used to see her all the time after that. She lived first in Averell Harriman’s house. He lent it to her for some months immediately after the assassination. That’s two doors down from us.

Then she bought the house across the street from us, catty‑corner, at 3017 N Street, and lived there for a couple of years until the tourists drove her away. It was really awful, hundreds and hundreds constantly. You could hardly get in and out of your house. I did feel very sorry for her.

Henry:  What were the places you went as a teenager?

Tom:  I don’t know if I should answer that.


Henry:  Oh, no. What were the safe places? How did you and your friends amuse yourselves in the Georgetown of the early ’60s?

Pepper:  Were you free to roam?

Tom:  Oh, yes. We roamed. We played in the back alleys. We were up to all kinds of mischief.

Henry:  I wish you hadn’t told us that, Tom.


Tom:  A good friend of mine lived up in Cleveland Park. His mother had a Mercedes, a rather fancy car. This was way before the age of terrorism.

We’d amuse ourselves on Saturday nights by getting trench coats and sunglasses and finding diplomatic cars driving and following them with this big Mercedes. They’d turn left and we’d follow close behind them.  Our amusement was in direct proportion to the fear in their eyes.

Kids will be kids. The drinking age was 18 then. There was a big bar scene, Clyde’s and others in Georgetown. There was some underage drinking that went on. I honestly was not part of that. When you turned 18, there’s a rite of passage. You’d go to a bar and have your first legal beer. I recall very well going to Clyde’s on my 18th birthday.

Pepper:  Just as a point, would there be kids from Georgetown University there? Would there be kids from the suburbs because some of those suburbs had different drinking ages?

Tom:  Yes, kids from both Georgetown University and the suburbs. It was a mix of everything. Georgetown kids were certainly a big component. I remember when I was a freshman in college, the place to go was called The Apple Pie. I don’t know if you remember that.  It was on M Street in what is now the Embassy of Ukraine, I think, near Key Bridge. It was a disco. Everybody used to go to The Apple Pie when I was in freshman and sophomore year.

Pepper:  Was Cellar Door there then?

Tom:  Yeah. It was there then. I actually never went to The Cellar Door. I was not into jazz. It was very popular. Yes, it was an institution. It’s too bad it’s not still there because now, I’d probably like to go.

Clyde’s opened in ’63. It was supposed to be a New‑York‑style bar. Back then it was just that front room with the red checked tablecloths. It looks pretty much the way it did then. They’ve had a few changes.

There weren’t very many restaurants here, then. That’s another thing. Back in the ’50s and ’60s there was really only one restaurant or a couple. One was called Espionage, which was at 28th and M. That corner building with a turret on it. That was one of the first restaurants in Georgetown.

Billy Martin’s Carriage House and Martin’s were, of course, here. Martin’s was the first restaurant I had ever been in. I remember I was a really tiny boy going in there and it had sawdust on the floor, had all these gruff waiters. It still has that aura to it.

Then, there was a French restaurant called Chez Odette on M Street, which was pretty good French food.

Pepper:  I remember. It lasted a long time.

Tom:   I was sorry to see it go. Excellent chicken Dijonaise.

Henry:  In your boyhood, what were places that children frequented? Was there an ice cream place, a movie place, or where did you play with your pals?

Tom:  The Georgetown Theater was a functioning movie theater at the time. They used to get a lot of British films and I remember going to see things like “The Bells of St. Trinian’s” and stuff like that. These crazy old British movies from the ’50s.

There was an ice cream place. It was called Stohlman’s Confectionary. It was on Wisconsin Avenue below N Street. When it closed down, they moved the whole thing lock, stock, and barrel, into the Smithsonian. You can see it there today at the American History Museum.  All the carved wood and everything…It was really cool. I remember going into Stohlman’s and getting ice cream cones when I was a small boy.

There weren’t a lot of kids. There were a few kids in Georgetown my age, but not a whole lot. It was more of an older community. Those of us who were the same age, we also knew each other because we all went to the same schools. It was sort of an identity. We tended to look down on people from the suburbs.

We all knew each other. In fact, I’m still close to some of those people. I still stay in touch with them even though they may live in New York or elsewhere. We’ve maintained contact.

Pepper:  The river, did you play in the river? With all those industries, was it too filthy to go in to?

Tom:  Yes, it was polluted. You couldn’t go in it. I would, occasionally, go down there and try to fish, but I’d never catch anything. The only thing I ever caught was a dead rat, literally.


Tom:  The cleanup at the river really occurred in the 1960s, the beginning of the 1960s. They really have done a very commendable job. It’s totally a different ballgame. Back then you wouldn’t see any wildlife there. You wouldn’t see ducks or geese or anything. Now they’ve come back in great measure. There were no deer then. Now, they’re everywhere.

The cleanup, I think, hasn’t been 100 percent effective from what I understand. But it’s a 180‑degree change from what it was when I was a kid. My son is a rower. He rows with the Potomac Boat Club. If he fell in the water now he wouldn’t have to go get tetanus shots. If he did back then, then yeah, you’d have to be detoxed.

Henry:  As you were moving from boyhood to young manhood there were big social changes in Washington and parts of the city was set afire. What was your experience in Georgetown in the late ’60s? I think our readers might like to know about that.

Tom:   I have a very distinct memory of that. I was away at college and it was in April of ’68, following the King assassination. There were riots. Basically, 7th Street and 14th Street and other parts of the town were burned to the ground. The rioting did not touch Georgetown.

I remember driving from Princeton, where I was in college, home for Easter. As we approached the outskirts of Washington on the Baltimore‑Washington Parkway, there was this huge cloud of smoke all over the city. You could see it. It was almost blocking out the sunlight. You could see the whole city was covered in haze from these fires.

You’d pass police checkpoints and you eventually got to where you wanted to go. In Georgetown, I remember there were armed troops with bayonets stationed about every 50 to 100 feet. There was one in front of my mother’s shop. Again, there was no rioting in Georgetown. There was definitely not a police presence, but a military presence all over Georgetown.

Again, this cloud of smoke was everywhere. My mother had a porter who worked for her…Everyone knew this was coming. It was not a surprise that it happened, disappointing, but not a surprise. Joe, the porter, said, “Now, Mrs. Crocker, I want you to get some soap and write “soul sister” on that window, and they’ll leave you alone.” She did. And they did .

I remember that very, very vividly. I remember driving over post‑riot and looking at 7th and 14th Street. It was still smoldering. There had been a lot of auto dealerships over there and mechanic garages and stuff. This stuff was just totally burned to the ground. Whatever businesses had been there to service that community, just torched and destroyed.

It was a tense time, and it was a time of coming of age for me, literally, also, I think, for society because we began to see grievances that some people had, which were never articulated before openly. People became, in the black community, a lot more militant, even among people that you knew well, who were friends.

For example, my mother’s shop, she employed several African Americans.

Pepper:  Mm‑hmm.

Tom:  I had grown up with them, sitting at their feet. They’re wonderful, just wonderful people whom I love to this day, now deceased. It was like the scales fell from my eyes and I began to see another side to the story, if you will. It was a pretty unique time to be in Washington and see all the pain.

Then, of course, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated a couple of months later and I remember seeing the train bearing his body come into town. I went because I was curious. The train was all draped in black, and there were thousands of people standing along the tracks.

He was shot in Los Angeles, but there was a train that brought him here from New York, with people lining the tracks all the way. It was a very emotional time.

Pepper:  How about the clubs in Georgetown? Some that maybe still exist, or that have come and gone.

Tom:  City Tavern. Is that what you mean by a club?

Pepper:  Yeah.

Tom:  My parents were founding members of that. It had been, obviously, an old tavern of some historical note. It was in bad shape. They put together a group. A lot of Georgetown people, the Belins, who owned Evermay, were very active in this, and renovated it and opened it up as a club. It was and is very attractive in there. I’ve been in there several times in recent years. It still functions and has a membership.

When I was younger, in my mid‑20s, they had a very active younger members group there. I was involved in that until I left Washington and went elsewhere. The Georgetown Club is much later. That was not here when I was a boy. That was probably set up in the ’70s or something like that.

Pepper:  I wonder what was in that space before?

Tom:  It was a dry-cleaners.

Henry:  When you were growing up, were people coming into Georgetown in the same way that we see tourists flocking here now on weekends? Was it more crowded on the weekends than during the week?

Tom:  That’s an excellent question, and the answer is no. I’m glad you raised that. That was something that was so special about Georgetown. It was quiet. You wouldn’t know you were in the city.

That’s particularly true, as you go higher up the hill into residential gardens and all that. Even all along M Street and Wisconsin, I mean, there were shoppers who were locals.

The stores that we had then had things that local people wanted to buy, such as nice ladies dresses, decorating things, lamps, and lamp shades, things like that. We had our own hardware store. It catered much more to the Georgetown community than to the city at large.

Henry:  It was a distinct village?

Tom:  Yes, it was. It was a distinct village. I’ll never forget reflecting on the fact that in Georgetown in the day and at night, it was quiet. You would never know you were in a big city. That was what was unique about it.

Those thronging crowds you get along M street, in particular, these days, it was not like that. Again, M street was a dive‑bar place. I remember there was a Pep Boys store for auto parts. There was a place called the Silver Dollar, which I would never go into.

Henry:  I want to know about the Silver Dollar!


Tom:  It was a little rough. There was a dime store down on M, which was real hit or miss. It didn’t attract the throngs from the suburbs. At night, it was really pretty quiet down there.

Henry:  I think that’s really interesting.

Tom:  I do, too.

Henry:  How about in the summer? Did people desert the city? Where did people go?

Tom:  Yes, they did. I remember, at one point, we had a British diplomat who lived next door. He really suffered in the heat. He was telling us how they got tropical duty pay for…

Henry:  Hardship?

Tom:  Hardship, yeah, for Washington in the summer. I can see why. We didn’t have air conditioning. I don’t know how we did it. It was just awful. You’d get a towel and wet it and put it in front of a big window fan. It didn’t do any good. It was just awful.


Tom:  I remember, to try to cool off, my parents would take my grandmother, who lived over near Kalorama, for a drive through Rock Creek Park. That was the big thing. You’d just open the windows, because the car didn’t have air conditioning either, and you’d just drive. It was a little cooler there because there was the shade.

Henry:  Could a family buy most things they needed in Georgetown? What were some of those places?

Tom:  Before I get on that, let me just say, yes, a lot of people did leave.

Henry:  In the summers.

Tom:  In the summers. A lot of people went to the beach, where you would at least get a breeze. We tended to go to Maine, where my father’s family was from. That was, obviously, a lot cooler. That was before we had Interstate 95.

Pepper:  That must have been a long trip.

Tom:  A long trip with no air conditioning.

Tom:  I think more than once, my parents came close to divorce on those trips. [laughs] .

Henry:   Because it would have to take more than a day.

Tom:  Oh yeah. You’d have to do it in stages. You didn’t have a super highway. It was probably a two‑ or three‑day trip. I‑95 has gotten more crowded. It’s a two‑ or three‑day trip again. [laughs]

A lot of people got away in the summer. Then, of course, if you stayed here in August, it was just dead. It still is sort of. I like August here now because we at least have air conditioning in the house. It’s quiet. August in Washington, in Georgetown, you get a little bit sense of what I was describing about the way Georgetown used to be back in the ’50s, about being so quiet.

Anyway, I just wanted to round out that thought.

Henry:  Oh, sure. I’ve heard that too. Our summers now, the quietness is like a regular day in the ’60s.

Tom:  Yes. In August, in particular.

Henry:  I wanted to know about where the family shopped? Did they get most of what they needed in Georgetown?

Henry:  Georgetown.

Tom:  Yes. We’ve talked about the groceries. You shopped at the little corner stores or at the market, at the Western market. Again, there were no supermarkets.

Pepper:  Did they deliver?

Tom:  Yes.

Pepper:  Everything was delivered?

Tom:  Oh, yes. The Sealtest Dairy…They had a dairyman. He would deliver milk. You got these boxes on the side door. Not the front door, the side door. They’d bring milk once or twice a week. It came in glass bottles and the cream was at the top.

The grocery stores would deliver. Neams Market, at Wisconsin and P, was another big source. They would always deliver boxes of food. The liquor store would deliver. It was a much more service‑oriented economy than it is now.

For clothes, they didn’t have a Brooks Brothers here then. Georgetown University shop up near Georgetown University was a place to get decent men’s clothes. We had two hardware stores, Weavers and Meenehan’s, which were both full‑service hardware stores. One on M and one on Wisconsin. I watched Weavers burn in 1963.

Tom:  I have some photos of that at home. It caught fire and there was a lot of paint there. It was very lurid fire. All these colors of paint were going up. Somebody started a rumor there was dynamite stored in the back. The police cleared the road. We were fortunate it turned out to be false, but it, basically, destroyed their building. While they are still there, they don’t really sell all kinds of hardware such as they used to.

What else does one need? Let’s see. Back then…clothing, household goods. Life was really simple. There were car dealerships in DC then, over on 14th Street, that’s where they generally were.

There was a lot of industry in Georgetown. Again, that industry was dying by the time I came along in the ’50s. Those flour mills, saw mills, and what not. The coal train, the B&O coal train used to come in. The tracks are still there now where Waterfront Park is, which they’ve done a brilliant job with. I just love it.

I used to go down there. I could hear these coal trains coming in. They were servicing the West Heating Plant, which my father ran, very briefly right after the War, when he got out of the Army. He ran that plant for a year, or six months, or something. He used to take me down there.

Underneath the Whitehurst freeway, which was already there, there was man who kept goats on the hill there. I remember seeing all these goats. As a little kid, it was great seeing all these goats.

There was a coal company called William H. King 1835. It was a really old brick building and that’s no longer there. That’s been torn down. That was also down there. It was a pretty decrepit area, down underneath that freeway.

Pepper:  Can you recall any other catastrophic events? Like that hardware fire, or explosions?


Tom:  There was a big flood in ’72. Probably the biggest flood of my lifetime. I think there was a hurricane that came through, and then the heavy rain was just right after that. That whole area down there flooded out.

I remember walking over the M Street bridge over Rock Creek. The entire Rock Creek Parkway was under water. It was just surging down. It looked like the Potomac River.

Henry:  Was the flood mainly evident in Rock Creek, or the Potomac River also?

Tom:  Both.

Henry:  Both?

Tom:  There are marks down there showing how high it rose. Where the movie theater is now, what used to be that bar, Chadwick’s. It was totally under. The water came up where Wisconsin avenue starts to rise. Everything down at that level was probably six or eight feet under water. It was that extensive.

Pepper:  Wow.

Henry:  Was that in summer?

Tom:  More or less. It may have been September, or around the shoulders of the summer.

Pepper:  Whitehurst Freeway existed then?

Tom:  Yes, it was there then. It was built right at the end of the war, I think ’47 or something. That’s always been there in my lifetime. That’s the only other real natural disaster that I can recall here.

Pepper:  All those factories and whatnot were torn down to make way?

Tom:  Right. I remember, I did a local history project in high school. I had a movie camera. I made photographs.  I made a movie of all these… the subject was the Georgetown Waterfront. I tried to find that, because it actually shows how they all looked. I know I have it somewhere. It’s one of those old…I’d have to convert it to a disc.

Henry:  Was your family caught up at all in the ’60s in that controversy of building another bridge and Interstate 66 coming near? Could you talk a little bit about that?

Tom:  I remember that very well. The idea was to build a bridge over the Three Sisters Islands. [laughs] My father being an engineer, was all for it. My mother being…


Henry:  Your dad was for the highway?

Tom:  Of course. He was for building anything.


Henry:  He was an engineer, that’s right. [laughs]

Tom:  Some of the more historic and aesthetically minded people did not like it. They did these mock‑ups. They started building it. They started building at least some pylons to hold it.

I think some Georgetown University students went out and tore them down every night. There was some urban warfare going on against this. It was very controversial. I was against it. It would have obliterated the Three Sisters Islands.

Eventually, for whatever reason, it was re‑thought and abandoned. Which I think was a very good decision.

Henry:  I wanted to go a little bit back to your boyhood. Were there any real characters?

Tom:  I’m glad you asked. [laughs] That was going to be my next…you took the words right out of my mouth.


Henry:  Oh good. Did you ever hear of someone named Sky King?

Tom:  Yes, but I can’t place who it was.

Henry:  I heard of him and as you were talking about your boyhood, I thought, I really want him to talk about any characters the children remembered in Georgetown.

Tom:  Georgetown was full of characters then and now. I remember there was an older man with a cane and he had a shock of white hair. My father called him Old John. I don’t know if that was his name or not, but he was always a fixture sitting down at Wisconsin and he would just sit…

Henry:  This was the ’50s?

Tom:  ’50s, yes. Old John. He would sit there with his cane and he wasn’t panhandling, or anything. There were no panhandlers then. That’s another big difference. He was a character who was there, part of the wallpaper. Then, there was a simple‑minded woman, who was large and she always wore floral‑print dresses.

I never did know her name, but you could see her wandering all over Georgetown. She didn’t quite have all her marbles, but she was a Georgetown character. Later, probably in the ’60s, there was the balloon man. I don’t know if you remember the balloon man.

Pepper:  Oh, I think I remember that.

Tom:  He was this black fellow, who sold balloons in front of CVS, People’s Drugstore as it was called then, on Wisconsin. “Make the children happy, make the babies happy. They are big, they are beautiful.” He was always hawking balloons. He was a real fixture there. He was a very cheerful guy, this large booming voice.

I think he sold a lot of balloons, but there was always a rumor that he was an undercover narc officer. I don’t know whether it was true or not, but one day, he’s gone. He’s not there anymore.

Henry:  He disappeared.

Tom:  Completely. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. Maybe he just moved elsewhere or he sold all the balloons that he ever wanted to sell. I don’t know. Maybe he was a narc. I don’t know. [laughs] He was sort of famous. I saw an article about him not too long ago in the Post in John Kelly’s Washington column. They were talking about the balloon man.

He had this spiel that he would get on and everybody knew him. He was a character. Who was Sky King, or whatever it was? I’ve heard of him. Do you know anything more about that? I’m just trying to refresh my memory.

Henry:  No. That would have been much later. I heard it at Potomac School, where I taught, my first job in Washington, talk about Sky King. I knew he was a Georgetown character, but I never…

Tom:  I’ve heard of it, but I can’t place it. Even some of the more reputable people were characters. I remember seeing Dean Acheson, who was Secretary of State at the time, walking down Wisconsin Avenue. He wore this cape and he had this mustache and he was very…

Pepper:  Handlebar?

Tom:  No, not him. It was a very clipped mustache and very distinguished. I was about three years old. I was getting out of the car and here he came striding down Wisconsin Avenue. I went up to him and I said, “Well, hello old timer. How are you?” He growled at me. ” [growls] ”


Henry:  That’s great.

Tom:  There are other stories. I’m probably forgetting others. There was the Russian spy who defected…Yeah, you know that story. There was a fair bit of espionage going around here.

Pepper:  In more recent times, Aldrich Ames. That’s much more recent.

Tom:  The head of Counterintelligence at the CIA, James Jesus Angleton, used to have lunch every day at the restaurant at Wisconsin and S. He’d hold court there. Back then, it was a French restaurant, I think. I can’t remember what it was.

Pepper:  The one on the corner?

Tom:  No. It’s in the middle of the block. It’s now…

Pepper:  Bistrot Lepic?

Tom:  No. It’s across the street from Bistrot. Right across the street from…

Pepper:  It’s the Baguette?

Tom:  No, down from that. It’s a restaurant of some kind. I think it’s painted rose color.  They used to have waiters on roller skates there.

Pepper:  Yes.

Tom:  You know what I’m talking about. Getting really old, I can’t remember. La Nicoise!

[In 1969, four young Frenchmen who had all worked together at the same restaurant in Nice came to Washington to open La Niçoise at 1721 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Taking as much care to market their new eatery as to ensure it featured good food, they cultivated a fun-loving atmosphere, punctuated by the fact that they all wore roller skates at night while serving dinner. The roller skates became the restaurant’s signature motif, along with a raucous floor show late in the evening. The restaurant lasted until the mid 1990s.]


Tom:  That was really popular back in the ’60s and ’70s.

Henry:  I had forgotten that. Tom, you’ve been so generous with your stories and your insights. I want to give you a chance to do a little bit of summary.

As you think about how deeply you have appreciated your childhood and growing up and your adulthood and Georgetown, what do you still appreciate now that you experienced as a child? What has really shocked you in changes in Georgetown?

Tom:  The thing that I appreciate most is the community. It was a wonderful community then. It’s a wonderful community now. You have very interesting people here who are stimulating. They tend to be well‑educated, well‑traveled.

In Georgetown, when I was growing up, let’s say, during the Kennedy era in the early ’60s, that was its heyday. Everybody who was anybody lived here. A lot of people had salons and dinner parties, people like Alsop and others. Katharine Graham. There were diplomats, journalists, government figures ‑‑ a wide variety of people ‑‑ all of whom were extraordinarily interesting and nice. Very much to my pleasure, having moved back here six years ago, I found that’s still largely the same case. It’s got a real sense of community. Now, many of these people go to Christ Church, too. That was also true then.

That’s a great continuity that I’ve been very pleased to see. What would be the most shocking change? The panhandlers every 30 feet. You can’t walk down the street without being assaulted in effect. That’s very different from the way it was. More congested, especially on the weekends, as you were saying, along M Street. That’s good for the merchants.

The other big change I would say is a decline in the quality of the stores so that, where you used to have nice shops with very nice things, now it’s at best, hit or miss.

My mother ran her shop for almost 30 years. Of course, there are a whole raft of stories about that and interesting things that she observed and happened there over the years. I’ve touched on a couple of them here. I can’t think of anything offhand really. If I sat down and thought about it, I could come up with a few.

Pepper:  Were you ever in a movie that was filmed in Georgetown, or did you go watch any that were filmed here?

Tom:  I was never in one, but [laughs] I still own the building where my mother’s shop was. It was recently for lease. I didn’t have a tenant. I was approached by Warner Brothers last year. They filmed a scene for “Wonder Woman 2.” They made it up to look like Commander Salamander, which was across the street back in the ’60s to ’80s. I haven’t seen the movie.

Tom: [laughs] Anyway, that’s about as close as I have been having a connection with the movies.

Georgetown is an interesting place. As it turned out, I vaguely knew that my mother’s family came from Maryland. I did more research. I found that many of my ancestors came from around here. My great‑grandfather, he was with the cavalry. He went out to fight the Comanches in 1870 and just stayed out that way. My mother was born out there.

As I did research, I actually found out that I’m a descendant of the Beall family, who are the original founders of Georgetown. Some others, too, who had plantations around here, an ancestor who fought in the War of 1812 from here. I’ve got some roots with it that go back. My 3x great grandmother was here the night the British burned Washington. We still have the shawl she wore that night to protect her dress from the falling ash and embers. It has burn holes all over it.

Henry:  I think I’m going to have to thank you again for your time and your research and for giving us such wonderful stories. I am very grateful to you. It’s been a singular pleasure to be in your company.

Tom:  Thank you so much. I thought you had some excellent questions.

Tom:  You both had excellent questions.  It’s fun to reminisce about it. I hope this will be of value to somebody in some future years or decades.

Pepper:  You bring such a unique perspective. You know so much about history, and you grew up here.

Henry:  Thank you, Tom….

Transcription by CastingWords