Nellie May Morton

Nellie May Sweet Morton, born in 1897, was interviewed by Ruth Ann Perez and Hazel Kreinheder in 1974. 

The history of the Bradburn Memorial Methodist Church, to which she belonged, is described in detail, as is information about many of the houses in the area where she had lived; her neighborhood was I, K, and L Streets SE, in the blocks between 12th and 15th Streets. While describing the houses and their residents, she reveals many features of early 20th century life: restrictions girls lived under (compared to the freedom their brothers enjoyed), the drowning deaths of two neighbohood brothers, the local schools she attended, and the fact that poor families like hers sometimes chopped up discarded railroad ties to use as firewood.

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Interview Date
December 11, 1974
Ruth Ann Perez and Hazel Kreinheder
Paula Causey
Paula Causey

Full Directory

[Nellie May Morton was interviewed in 1974 to provide background for the application to create the Capitol Hill Historic District. Use of any material should include this information and cite the Overbeck Project’s website. The interview was retyped by Paula Causey in 2012 with street names and house addresses edited to conform to the style used in Overbeck Project transcripts.]

Capitol Hill Interviews

Interview with Nellie May Morton
By Ruth Ann Perez and Hazel Kreinheder December 11, 1974

The interview with Mrs. Nellie May Sweet Morton was conducted at 5821 Marlboro Pike, District Heights, Maryland.

MRS. MORTON: At the time when my name was Nellie Sweet, I lived at 1345 K Street SE. I was raised there. Later I married and bought a house at 1218 I Street SE, right across the street from where I was born. I was born and raised my whole life through around on L Street, K Street, I Street. I lived two doors from the church that I was put in when I was five years old and continued membership right on through my life in that same church. The name of the church is Bradburn Memorial Methodist Church. It is now located across from where I’m presently living. At that particular time, it was on K Street. It was called the K Street Church. It didn’t belong to the conference, it was more or less what you would call Free.

Church at 1341 K Street SE, in 1974.

INTERVIEWER: I’m reading from a mimeographed page that says “Church History” at the top of it, and that Mrs. Morton has just handed me. I will read up to the point where the church moved to Maryland. “About 1890, a group of people wanted to start a church in a community that was greatly in need of one so they purchased a house in the 1300 block of L Street SE. The first floor of the dwelling was turned into a meeting place by removing the partitions between the rooms. The second floor was rented to take care of the rent on the meeting place. In 1893, Mrs. A. T. Lyon made available to the group the ground upon which the church stood, 1341 K Street SE. The use of the lot was tendered as a loan with the understanding that the group could use it as long as they wished so long as it was church purposes.

The offer was accepted, a church building was erected. The church was then known as the K Street Methodist Church and Reverend J.P. Bradburn became the first pastor. After his death, the name of the church was changed to The Bradburn Memorial Methodist Church. In 1924, the land on which the church was situated was purchased from Mrs. Lyon for the sum of $1000.00. Bradburn was operated and endeavored to faithfully serve God and the community, the purpose for which the original group was formed and set forth. Ground breaking exercises were held on May 27, 1945, for a fellowship hall that would serve the vast needs of our church and community. After two years of building, the fellowship hall was completed at a total expense of $17,000. This amount was raised by the members and paid for completely in a period of five years. In 1950, the members wanted to relocate the church in the suburbs of Maryland because many of the members had moved into that area. So after much searching, we located a piece of land at then 6800 Marlboro Pike, now 5904 Marlboro Pike, District Heights, that suited all concerned. Consent was given by the members to buy the ground in August of 1952 and in January, 1953 purchase was made.” There is more information about the present church, but since it does not concern Capitol Hill, we’re not going to read it.

INTERVIEWER: Reading from an undated Star newspaper clipping circa 22 June. The year is after 1939 and before the move to Maryland in the early 50s. “Reverend J.B. Bradburn served the church October, 1893 to August, 1899. Those who were charter members were Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Steele, Mrs. Coxan, Mrs. Elizabeth Steele, Mrs. Ella Glascoe, now Mrs. Ella Garrison, Dan Glascoe, Mr. and Mrs. Alan P. Glascoe, Mr. and Mrs. Johne (sic) E. Steele, Mr. and Mrs. George Littleford, George F. Bateman, Thomas Nutwell, Charles Jaeschke, Edward Schwenk, Miss Mary R. Miller, now Mrs. Coulter, Mr. and Mrs. Pullins, Mrs. R. Burraurs, Mrs. Bell (sic) Miller, Mr. McCouley, and Mr. Emmons. The first meeting place of the congregation originally known as the K Street Methodist church was in the house in the 1300 block of L Street SE. Services were conducted by A.M. Steele, local Accorder of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1893, the late Mrs. A.T. Lyon permitted the congregation to use the ground on which the present church stands.” Then there is a repeat of what I read earlier. It does say that “the congregation was a member of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church but it withdrew in 1925 and is now an independent charge. Five years ago, the congregation decided on a radical step by giving the young people a chance to conduct the church affairs. The members turned over the posts on the Board of Trustees to the younger members for one year. J. Roland Cumberland became chairman, Carlton Chaney, Treasurer, and Miss Frances Herinimous, Secretary. Other members were Edward Pulaski, Elmer Gruver, Mrs. Doris Decker, Louise Boyd, and Charles Bailey. The only older member retained was George D. Boyd, who has served on the board since 1915. The young people did such a good job they are still functioning on the Board of Trustees. Pastors who served the church were the Reverends William L. Lynn 1899-1905, J. Edgar Smith, 1905-10, J.M.

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Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

McCauley, 1910-17, J.E. Slick, 1917-26, O.C. Barber, 1926-34, C.B. Brewington, 1934-39. The present pastor is the Reverend Glascoe.” The clipping has a picture of one of the sketches that the Star artist Leslie Bontz drew of the church. There is also a picture of Reverend Glascoe. “The present pastor Reverend Glascoe is a native of Washington. He attended the Vermont Avenue Bible Institute for 14 years, before becoming the Minister in 1939, he served as superintendent of the church’s Sunday J.O.U.A.M. Lodge. Mr. and Mrs. Glascoe lived at 1343 K Street SE.”

INTERVIEWER: Which one is the earliest minister that you can remember at that church?

MRS. MORTON: My mother didn’t have us christened when we were babies. All three of us children were christened at 1345 K Street SE, by Reverend Edgar Smith. The other two children were my two brothers, George Hall Sweet and Chester Atwell Sweet. Reverend Slick was a shoemaker on 11th Street SE. At that time, our congregation wasn’t large and we could not afford to pay a pastor. I’ve been going to that church since I was five, but I didn’t join to be a member until Reverend Slick took over which was in 1917. Reverend Barber was a young pastor. He dove into a shallow swimming pool and broke his neck. Reverend Brewington was from North Carolina. He wasn’t actually appointed, but he filled in plenty. He has passed away. I knew Reverend McCauley very well. He had a daughter and he had a home in Congress Heights. Cora Boyd, who has been a member as long as I have, her husband was the chairman of the Board. She was the organist of our church since she was a little child and could hardly reach the pedals. She lived right next door to the church. She lived to the east of the church. Her maiden name was Cora Steele. Reverend McCauley had a daughter that was about the same age that we were. After we’d come out of Sunday school and get a snack, we’d catch the streetcar on 11th Street SE, and go there and stay until it was church time and then the pastor and all of us would come back together. He’s passed away and just recently his wife passed away. Our pastor now is Reverend Glascoe, who now lives across the street out here in this project. He was superintendent of our church for many years. His father was Alan Glascoe and he preached for us and later on Reverend Glascoe was our pastor. He served thirty-one and a half years. And July, three years ago, another pastor named Reverend Edgar Harrison took over. I started teaching Sunday school when I was sixteen years old in that church and I taught until I became ill in 1960 and I still continued on. The only people who came to the church from outside the neighborhood were Reverend McCauley, his wife and his daughter. His daughter is still living.

INTERVIEWER: I have in my hand a picture that is on the back of a post-card and someone has lettered in on the negative, “Bradburn Memorial M.E. Church.” There is a handwritten notation on it “Picture of Nellie taken at the age of five years.” Mrs. Morton has pointed herself out as being a little girl over on one side of a long row of children. She had a white bow in her hair. The thing that I want to discuss primarily is the way the church itself looked. I’m comparing it to the drawing that was published in the newspaper,

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Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

the drawing by the artist Leslie Bontz. The church appeared as a clapboard, or a frame structure with the boards running horizontally. There is no steeple. There is a broad front door that is framed with a small over-hang and roofline exactly like the main roofline. There are windows on either side of the front door that have shutters. There is a brick chimney to the east of the roofline of the church down within maybe two feet of the edge of the roofline. There is a picket fence adjacent to the east side. The windows of the church are open and you can see all the way through to the back so it is apparent that there is no structure immediately behind this. Directly over the center of the peak covering the front door there is a rectangular box looking arrangement with a hole in it that possibly could have been an attic vent or some such arrangement. The picture is primarily of children. There are a large number of children there, perhaps thirty of them and as many as fifteen to twenty adults standing in the doorway or seated on the ground. There is not any evidence of a paved street. It looks like the street is simply tamped dirt. There does not seem to be a sidewalk. The church building fronts very close on to the roadway. It is, however, on an elevation. It looks like the street had not yet been graded down.

MRS. MORTON: I would like to tell about my mother being the organist of the church. My mother was Ida Virginia Sweet. Her maiden name was Atwell. She was the organist of the church for many years.

INTERVIEWER: Did your parents live anywhere else in Washington before they came to K Street?

MRS. MORTON: I was born at 1215 I Street SE. My mother came from Leesburg, Virginia. Her father came to Washington and had rooming houses uptown. I don’t remember my grandparents, I only know what my mother told me. He came to Washington and he had some money. In those days you didn’t have to have much to buy anything. He bought a couple of large rooming houses. That’s where my mother met my father. He lived in one of the boarding houses.

House on the right is 1215 I Street SE, in 1974.

My father was from Washington, but I don’t know from what part. They came to Southeast when they were first married. My brother Chester is the oldest and he was born in that same house on I Street SE. I don’t know which house George was born in, he was the youngest. I had a sister and a brother also. My sister was named Florence Sweet, she died at the age of 18 months. I had a brother by the name of Frank Atwell Sweet and he died at the age of 6 months. We lived on L, K, and 13th Streets. I had a little crippled boy who attended that church until about five months before he died. His name was Thomas Nelson Gorman, that was my son. He lived to be 17 years old. He died with cancer of the brain.

INTERVIEWER: Where did you live on 13th Street SE?

MRS. MORTON: That was when my boy was little. I lived at 1010 13th Street SE for about 13 years. My husband and I then moved to Fourth Street SE near where his family lived. I lived at 1112 Fourth Street SE. The Gormans lived right around the corner on M Street SE. Later on we moved back to Southeast. 1010 13th Street SE was considered part of the new flats because they were later. Along the eastern part of L Street SE were the old flats. Both of my children were born at 1361 L Street SE in the lower flat. 1361 L Street SE was part of the old flats. Half way around L, all the way to 13th and part of K Street SE was called the new flats. They were new when I got in there because they didn’t even have electricity. Tommy was about 6 years old. He was born December 9, 1918. That was about 1924. We had to pay our rent to Mrs. Tennyson. She lived at the very end of 13th and L Streets SE. We had to all go down on the first of the month to pay our rent. Sometimes we had to be in line to pay. If we moved in between, she would allow that to go in with the first payment. The rent was very, very cheap. I couldn’t even remember how much it was, so cheap. Eleven months we paid our full rent. The last month we got free of charge. That was for us to put any repairs that were needed on our apartment. They weren’t called apartments, they were called flats. Mrs. Tennyson was our rental agent for many, many years.

[Mrs. Morton was shown at this point a series of pictures which Hazel Kreinheder had taken in the spring of 1974 and asked to tell us as much as she knew about any of the houses.]

MRS. MORTON: Here is my house where I was raised at 1345 K Street SE. I lived two doors from the church. Cora Steele lived at 1343. That’s the house that Reverend Glascoe lived in until he moved out here.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have any idea how old those houses are? Were they new when you moved there?

MRS. MORTON: Oh, no, they were old houses when I moved there. Many of the pastors lived at 1343. The Havenners lived at 1347 K Street SE. Eva who is near my age is still living. I was the godmother to

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Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

her brother Howard. My father was sick for many years and we all had to work to help out. Georgie was only 8 and he was a newspaper boy. Chester was my older brother and he helped the hucksters. It used to be that the trucks would come past and stand, and all the neighbors would run out and buy vegetables from the trucks. I babysat. I went to the Cranch School. I started at the Cranch School which was at 12thand G SE. I started in the first grade with Mrs. Curley. I graduated in the eighth grade. I ended with the principal Mrs. Loomis. There’s a new building there now, PEPCO or something. The Cranch annex was on 12th Street. The Cranch had gotten so over loaded. They fixed up a duplex apartment as the Cranch annex. It was originally built as an apartment. Tyler School on 11th Street SE is a new school. Mrs. Susie Adams lived next door to the Havenners. Her daughter, Estelle Adams, was a friend of mine, but she has passed away.

INTERVIEWER: The next picture is 1339 K Street SE. It is west of the church, across the alley from the church.

MRS. MORTON: Mr. and Mrs. John Page lived in that house. Mr. and Mrs. Page and their daughter
now live in District Heights. It looks just like it did when the Pages lived there. They fixed it up very nicely. [Note: Hazel Kreinheder spoke by phone with Mrs. Page, 14 January 1975. Mrs. Page said that she sold 1339 K Street SE in 1949 and that she had owned it for about 23 years at the time that she had sold it. She said that she had been told by an old woman who lived in the area, who is long since dead, that the house had been moved from 12th Street where it had been originally located.] Going west, the Littlefords lived next to the Pages and the Swanks lived next door to the Littlefords. Looking back through the alley, the old flats were there on L Street when I was a little girl. Did you tell me something over the phone about those houses?

INTERVIEWER: The new flats are now being remodeled and are selling in the $50,000 price range.INTERVIEWER: Do you know anything about the houses at 1327 and 1329 K Street SE which appear

in this photo?

MRS. MORTON: I don’t know who lived there. The porches must have been added at a later date. The fence has been added, too. There were just ordinary frame houses sitting there. That apartment building to the west of those two houses was not there when I lived in the neighborhood. I moved away from I Street January 17, 1954, to Fairfax Village on Fort Dupont Street. We moved because the neighborhood was changing and the people were getting out.

INTERVIEWER: Here is a picture of 1376 K Street SE. Did you tell me that a family named Dudley lived in that house?

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Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

MRS. MORTON: Mr. and Mrs. Dudley lived in that house. That was across the street. The Dudley family was there long before I was ever there. None of the family is still alive that I know of. They had three children, one girl and two boys. Along with my two brothers and a lot of others, the two boys would get away from their parents. The parents had warned them so many times, “Please don’t go near the river.” Well, of course, they did and hung their clothes on the trees and jumped in nude. This one particular time, these two brothers got drowned and that almost put Mrs. Dudley over at St. Elizabeth’s hospital. They were lovely boys. It heartbroke her so that she sold that house and where they went I cannot tell you. In those days, the bodies were brought to the home to be buried. Those two boys were buried in that living room. I well remember I went over. They had the caskets open. In those days that had glass over the faces, halfway and the other part was covered up with the casket. They were embalmed and kept three days. They were buried in Congressional Cemetery. They were church members, but I don’t know which church. They weren’t members of our church. They may have been members of Christ Church because they own Congressional.

1376 K Street SE, in 1974.

INTERVIEWER: I wanted to know because I believe that the Dudley family goes back in that house until at least the 1870s. I think that it may have belonged to the father of the Mr. Dudley that you knew. There is a long association of that name in that house.

MRS. MORTON: I don’t remember who moved into that house after the Dudleys sold it. Next door to the west of that house was a family by the name of Russell. Their daughters were also around my age. The two daughters are still living, but I do not know where. I do know that their house was brand new when they moved in there. I went to school with them. That house was much newer than the house that I lived in. I lived in a frame house across the street. All on my side were frames and across the street were bricks.

INTERVIEWER: This is a picture of a house which is at the corner of 14th and K Streets SE. It’s on the north side. It’s number 1400 K Street SE. Do you know who lived there?

MRS. MORTON: This house has had some work done on it too. Mr. and Mrs. Weaver lived in this house. Their daughter Marie Smith is still alive. Right now, Mrs. Smith’s son, his wife and two children live in that house. Marie’s first husband was named Johnny Chaney. After she was widowed, she married Mr. Smith.

INTERVIEWER: Was Carlton Chaney any relation to Johnny Chaney?

MRS. MORTON: Yes, Carlton Chaney’s father was George Chaney. George Chaney and Johnny Chaney were brothers. That house was way, way older than I am. Mrs. Smith still owns that home. She lives in Oxon Hill, Maryland with friends. Before her family bought this house, they lived on 14th Street. There were three frame houses. In the middle house was Ella Glascoe, on one side were the Weavers and on the other Carlton Chaney’s family. Those houses have now been demolished and there is an apartment building there. We called them “the houses on top of the hill.” Across the street from them were all frame houses which right now is apartments. That is 14th and L Street SE.

INTERVIEWER: Were there any houses that were east of 14th Street? I have a picture of a row of houses that are on the east side of 15th Street below Pennsylvania Avenue SE in the 900 block and they sit up on a hill. They have front porches on them, but I have a feeling that the front porches were added later.

MRS. MORTON: Those houses on 15th Street were newer homes. They had porches then. They were new, they were brick, and I was used to frame homes.

INTERVIEWER: Were they already built when you were a little girl?

MRS. MORTON: I can’t remember these when I was a little girl. In those days little girls didn’t get too far from home, you know. You were always taught, “Now play around the house, Nellie, and if I catch you away from the house, then you have to come in.” But the boys, rough and ready boys, you couldn’t hold them down, you do know that. So they would go far away from the home and play. Go to the river and get in the water and all those things. But little girls, we never went away from our home. My Mother would say, “Now if you play right in front of the house, Nellie, you can stay out until so and so, but if I catch you across the street or around the corner, than you don’t go out this evening.” These are new houses.

INTERVIEWER: I have some pictures of I Street in the 1200 block, which would be across the street from where you lived. I believe that the house in which you lived was demolished for Potomac Gardens.

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MRS. MORTON: That’s right.

INTERVIEWER: I would like to show you these pictures because they are directly across the street from where you lived to see if you know anyone who lived in one of those houses. These houses are 1215, 1217, and 1219 I SE.

MRS. MORTON: Here is the one where I was born. I was born in 1215, right there. Later on in life, I bought and moved on I Street which was right across from where I was born. 1218 I Street SE was where I bought the home.

INTERVIEWER: 1218 was next door to the Millers. That’s where you lived when you were married and that’s the house that was demolished for Potomac Gardens.

MRS. MORTON: That’s right.

INTERVIEWER: But you were born across the street from where you later lived?

MRS. MORTON: Yes, and here’s the house.

INTERVIEWER: Do you know anything about the house?

MRS. MORTON: That was another old one. As I told you, where I was born and raised, the houses were made out of wood. Some were pebbledashed.

INTERVIEWER: You said that your parents moved there when they were a young married couple. Was your older brother born in that house?

MRS. MORTON: Yes and I was.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have any idea when your parents moved to that house? When was your older

brother born? Do you know how old he is?

MRS. MORTON: Chester’s birthday is December 6. They were living there before my brother was born. Let’s see, I was born in 1897 and he’s older than me, he was born about 18 months before me.

INTERVIEWER: So about 1895? Your parents were there before that time?

MRS. MORTON: Yes, and then I was born there. To my best thinking and memory, we moved to Anacostia. Now that I’m not too sure of, but I think my Mother told me after we left that house, we moved to Anacostia, and whereabouts now, of course I was so little, I wouldn’t know.

Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

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Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

INTERVIEWER: Then you came back to K Street shortly after the turn of the century or around the turn of the century?

MRS. MORTON: Yes. As I told you, I lived at 1218 I Street SE. I wouldn’t remember who lived next door because as I say, when we moved to Anacostia, Chester and I were very small children. Maybe, I was even a baby yet. So who lived in that one, I really couldn’t tell you. But there’s my house, I was born in. I was born on Sunday, I never will forget, my mother was so happy. My father wasn’t working. Didn’t work on Sundays. My father was...what do you call them that ride around in surreys?

MR. MORTON: Foreman or overseer.

MRS. MORTON: You don’t remember street cleaners. I know you don’t. Well, anyway, you know some of them, as like today, will loaf. So my father was the overseer. Well, anyway, he rode around with the buggy and, I guess, tried to catch them to see if they were loafing.

INTERVIEWER: Like an inspector?MRS. MORTON: Similar to that, yes.

INTERVIEWER: The male voice that you hear on the tape is Mr. Morton. We didn’t introduce him because he didn’t live in Southeast very long.

MRS. MORTON: No, he didn’t, because I lived on Fort Dupont Street when I married Mr. Morton.

INTERVIEWER: I notice that Mrs. Morton had gotten out something about the Salvation Army which was down in that neighborhood. I wonder if you might tell us about the Salvation Army because you mentioned it to me over the phone.

MRS. MORTON: The Salvation Army tore down, if I’m not mistaken, either four or five very, very destructive places and colored lived in them. They were really a disgrace to be on G Street SE, 12th and G, where it is now. The church was built in 1941. They tore all of those dilapidated houses down and built that nice church that you have seen on G Street SE, and, of course, my husband and I do volunteer work for the Salvation Army. We go every Tuesday down to DC Village, which is a place, at one particular time in my time, they called it “The poor house.” Later on, they gave it the name of “Blue Plains,” the name of it now is “DC Village.” It’s the same place, only remodeled and better in every way. That’s where we do our volunteer work, every Tuesday, my husband and I and we do it under the rules of the Salvation Army.

INTERVIEWER: Were the neighbors glad when that building was put in?

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MRS. MORTON: They surely were, they were mighty thankful to get those frame shacks down. They were terrible.

INTERVIEWER: Were there, when you were a little girl, colored living in the neighborhood at all? Or was it mostly white?

MRS. MORTON: Well, I can truthfully say, almost all white.
INTERVIEWER: When did the colored begin to move in? Mostly in the 50s? You mentioned the

Salvation Army building was built in 1941.

MRS. MORTON: Well, if I’m not mistaken, and I’m almost sure that I’m right, those shacks that were torn down were colored people.

INTERVIEWER: So that would mean that they had been there at least at the end of the 30s.
MRS. MORTON: They would have to be because the church was built in 1941. I can say for sure, yes,

they were colored.

INTERVIEWER: I can’t think of anything else that we specifically wanted to know unless Mrs. Morton has anything to add that we haven’t asked her about.

MRS. MORTON: The Little K Street Church, coming back to that. Later on, of course, I was grown. They built a big addition to it, which of course it’s there now.

INTERVIEWER: You seem to know something about the construction of the house at 1218 I Street SE, could you tell us about that?

MR. MORTON: The main body of the house was made of stone. It seemed to be over a hundred years old at that time.

MRS. MORTON: I bought it in 1938.

MR. MORTON: There were additions to it. The house was so old that the boxing under the eaves, the trim work, actually, there was nothing there, you couldn’t paint it, because there was nothing there to paint.

MRS. MORTON: It was called the eave of the house.
MR. MORTON: Under the eave of the house, because the wood had all dryrotted and just blown away, I

guess. And actually it was just the paint that had accumulated that was staying up there. The reason that I page 11

Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

knew about that house was that I helped her do a lot of repair work on it. I don’t know about the other houses in the row. I never paid much attention to them

INTERVIEWER: I had asked Mrs. Morton about Ives Place and she’s going to tell us what she knows about it.

MRS. MORTON: Ives Place wasn’t too far from where I lived and I had friends on Ives Place. The reason it was called “The Place” was because it was only two blocks long. The Chamberlain Vocational School was built later around there. Later on in years that turned colored, too. That took the white people away from Ives Place. My mother-in-law lived on Ives Place. Right now, I cannot recall the number of her house, but if I’m not mistaken, it was 1436 Ives. That was Mrs. Gorman. She moved from M Street over on Ives and she bought that home. That was an old frame. They fixed it up marvelously. You could never tell that it was the same house.

End tape, side one.

Side Two.

MRS. MORTON, continued: At 1218, I rented my top floor out. His (referring to Mr. Morton) sister and her husband and her daughter lived in my house and she came from right around the corner on 12th Street in that frame house. All of those houses are still there. [Note: This conversation is in connection with a photo of the west side of the 900 block of 12th SE which Mrs. Morton had been shown while tapes were being changed.]

INTERVIEWER: Mrs. Morton, what did they call the neighborhood where you lived?

MRS. MORTON: When we were growing up, and I’ll tell you why they called it that. My Mother told me, of course. They called it “Pipetown.” And so I said to my Mother as I got a little older, “Mama, what makes them call this place Pipetown?” She said, “Well, in the olden days, over toward the hill part, in the back of L Street, the old ladies used to sit on the logs and smoke their pipes and that’s how it come to get the name of Pipetown.”

INTERVIEWER: When you mentioned the hill, it brought to mind another question I wanted to ask you. Do you know where Poplar Hill was?

MRS. MORTON: Yes, I guess I do. I rolled many an egg on Poplar Hill. That was right on L Street SE. We used to run up and down the hill too. It’s a wonder we didn’t get killed because there was a railroad track and the trains were running. But fortunately, when we’d run down it, no trains would come along. My two brothers along with other brothers ... they’d throw a carload of nothing—of coke—out for the

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poor people, the boys that would be and bag it up and bring it to our house for us to use. And the wood part would be the crossties when they got old, they’d throw them out. And then our brothers, along with others, got it, and chopped it up and that was our wood.

INTERVIEWER: It was east of the gas house toward the river?

MRS. MORTON: Yes, see when you ran down that Poplar Hill, the eggs would roll all the way down. Fortunately, as I told you, no trains came along. But if they had, a lot of us would have gotten killed doing that too. Because right down below there was the railroad tracks.

INTERVIEWER: So it was between L Street and the river and it sloped down toward the river?MRS. MORTON: Yes and they called it Poplar Hill. I mean to tell you. Everybody in Pipetown went

there and after I got married, I took my child there.

MR. MORTON: That was during the time when a lot of people used those old Latrobe heaters for heating the house.

MRS. MORTON: No, I didn’t have them. They had self feeders and great big ranges that had the tops that would keep the food warm. Have yours on all day long.

INTERVIEWER: On the triangle at 12th and K and Potomac SE is a picture of a house that Hazel took. When Mrs. Morton was grown and when she moved back into the neighborhood after she had married, a family named Duffy lived in that house.

MRS. MORTON: Right at the triangle.

INTERVIEWER: There’s also a picture of a house that would have been next to it on K Street SE. It’s of similar construction and is on the north side of the 1200 block of K. 1234. It appears to be about the same date period. Do you know who lived there?

MRS. MORTON: There is more than one house there.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, there are other houses, but this particular house is a detached house. And then

there are three or four brick houses, I think, on that side of the street, too.

MRS. MORTON: I wish I could remember the name because I went to school with some of the daughters. The place was so beautiful. They had money. They remodeled that home and every wedding, every daughter that got married, the wedding was on the outside. This family had a set of daughters, I can’t place now how many, but each time a daughter got married in that yard and I mean to tell you they

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Capitol Hill Interviews Nellie May Morton Interview, December 11, 1974

must have had money because the weddings were gorgeous. I was growing up and I’d say to Hazel, my girlfriend, “Come on. There’s going to be another wedding down there and I just want to see it.” And all of us children would gather right outside of this fence and watch all that lovely wedding going on. Each daughter was married right there,

INTERVIEWER: Who was Hazel?

MRS. MORTON: She was my girlfriend. She lived on K Street too at one time. She’s living on Brooks Drive in Suitland. Her maiden name was Hazel Oxley, later on she married. She lived in the 1300 block of K Street SE. I can’t remember how many houses away from me. She’s been married twice; her first married name was Chase. Now she married Francis Carr.

INTERVIEWER: Do you remember any other people who lived in that neighborhood?
MRS. MORTON: I remember all of Brother Jimmie’s people. Cora Boyd’s mother’s name was Glascoe

before she married a Steele. Cora Boyd is still alive and lives in Temple Hills. She’s not too well. END OF INTERVIEW