Thomas Circle is named in honor of George Henry Thomas


Thomas Circle is named in honor of  George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816 – March 28, 1870) a career Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War.
Thomas was born and raised in Newsom's Depot in Southampton County, Virginia. (Five miles from the North Carolina Border)  A West Point graduate where his roommmate was William T. Sherman.  He served in primitive outpost of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the Seminole Wars in the 1840s and later fought in the  Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War, he virtually ran the wester theater.




In response to his service with the union, his southern  family turned his picture against the wall, destroyed his letters, and never spoke to him again. During the economic hard times in the South after the war, Thomas sent some money to his sisters, who angrily refused to accept it, declaring they had no brother.
During the war,  his former student and fellow Virginian, Confederate Col. J.E.B. Stuart, wrote to his wife, "Old George H. Thomas is in command of the cavalry of the enemy. I would like to hang, hang him as a traitor to his native state."
After the war ended,  Thomas commanded the Department of the Cumberland (parts of Kentucky and Tennessee,  West Virginia and  Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama) through 1869.   He acted to protect freedmen from white abuses. He set up military commissions to enforce labor contracts since the local courts had either ceased to operate or were biased against blacks. Thomas also used troops to protect places threatened by violence from the Ku Klux Klan.






In 1869, he requested assignment to command the Division of the Pacific with headquarters at the Presidio of San Francisco. He died there of a stroke while writing an answer to an article criticizing his military career by his wartime rival John Schofield. None of his blood relatives attended his funeral.






A distinctive engraved portrait of Thomas appeared on U.S. paper money in 1890 and 1891. The bills are called "treasury notes" or "coin notes" and are widely collected today because of their fine, detailed engraving. The $5 Thomas "fancyback" note of 1890, with an estimated 450-600 in existence relative to the 7.2 million printed, ranks as number 90 in the "100 Greatest American Currency Notes" compiled by Bowers and Sundman


Blodget's Union Public Hotel


Blodget's Union Public Hotel (AKA Blodget's Lottery Hotel or Grand Hotel, the name is sometimes spelled with two T’s), was also the site of the first General Post Office of the United States. It was located on the corner of 8th and E Streets NW. The White House was originally to have had three stories like the hotel, which was the largest public building in Washington to survive the fires of the War of 1812. The proeprty was designed by James Hoban.

The Long Bridge



The 14th Street Bridge was originally called The Long Bridge (because it was longer than the other bridge in the city the bridge at Little Falls built in 1797. The Long Bridge was completed in  1809.
                                                                                          

Mason Island


Mason's Island or Analostan Island is now officially known as Theodore Roosevelt Island. Over the years the place has also been called My Lord's Island, Barbadoes Island, Colonel Mason Island, and Anacostine Island. The Nacotchtank Indians, upon leaving what is today Anacostia, temporarily relocated to the island in 1668, dubbing the place Anacostine and in 1682 it was chartered as Anacostine Island by Captain Randolph Brandt, who left the island to his daughter Margaret Hammersley, upon his death.

The island remained undeveloped and passed through three generations, from the Hammerslys until Colonel George Mason III, an aggressive real estate speculator and tough minded businessman purchased the Island in 1724. He left it to his son, George Mason who in turn left it to his son John Mason in 1792

John Mason (referred to as John Mason of Analostan Island.)was the eighth child and fifth-eldest son of George Mason IV and his wife Ann Eilbeck and the fourth generation Mason to own the island. He was tutored at his father's estate, Gunston Hall, in Fairfax County by Scotsmen Mr. Davidson and a Mr. Constable. Mason completed his formal education in mathematics in Calvert County, Maryland. He was then apprenticed to a Quaker merchant William Hartshorne of the firm of Harper & Hartshorne in Alexandria, Virginia.

In the Spring of 1788 he then entered into a partnership with merchants James and Joseph Fenwick of Maryland to form Fenwick & Mason. In June of that year,  travelled to Bordeaux, France to conduct business for the firm and remained there until 1791 and only then left due to his ill health.

The firm expanded into other lucrative ventures including bankinging, international commerce, the organization of foundries, navigation, turnpike companies,  flour and wheat trade and tobacco operations. Mason also served on the board of directors of the Bank of Columbia and became its president in 1798. 

Two years before, in 1796, Mason married Anna Maria Murray in 1796, and built and estate in Georgetown at the corner of present-day 25th and L Streets and Pennsylvania Avenue. Later that year, he began construction on his summer home on Analostan Island. John Mason built a mansion, reported to be a handsome, impressive stone house described as  
"one story, with a full basement; the main floor included a drawing and dining rooms, (and) three bed chambers . . . while the kitchens and storage rooms were located in the basement. There was a large brick terrace along the south front of the house and the small entrance portico on the north front faced Georgetown."

To fashion his famous gardens on the island, Mason hired English gardener David Hepburn. (Who published one of the first garden books in America.) Mason grew cotton and maize (corn) on the property and raised fowl and prize winning sheep.  Louis-Philippe Duc d'Orleans, later King of France, was once guest on the property as were  Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe.


 During the winter months the Masons would return to their winter house in Georgetown, leaving the island house in care of servants. In June of 1806, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Anne Cary Randolph, describes the Mason house catching fire: "one wing was burnt down and the middle nearly so. They saved their furniture. Suspicions arising that it was done by one of his house servants who wished the family to go back to Georgetown, he was arrested and on his way to prison with the constable, he jumped out of the boat and drowned himself. I understand the family will continue through the summer in the remaining wing."

There were other extensive fires in the 1860s, and in 1906.

After suffering a series of financial setbacks, (He could not meet notes on the house to cover his debts, and the bank foreclosed on both his island and Georgetown properties) Mason was forced to give up Analostan Island, and in 1833, although the  family had already vacated the island in 1831 when a causeway stagnated the water in the Potomac River and the Masons had tired of the island muggy climate and the summer mosquitoes. Later that year, the Mason’s moved to Clermont, his newly built home in the Cameron Run valley in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The following year, the island was the site of the first balloon ascent in the District on July 30, 1834.  Nicholas J. Ash,  a painter from Baltimore who called himself an "aeronaut,"charged 50 cents for those who wanted to observe the event. The balloon took off at  6 o'clock, and drifted to the northwest and then back over Georgetown, before floating back to the island.

In 1815, Mason acquired Henry Foxall's Foxhall Cannon Foundry in Georgetown which he operated until his death in 1849. His son Maynadier Mason took over th factory and sold it five years later.

Mason purchased large tracts of land throughout the city and was appointed superintendent of the Indian Trade in 1807 and hld that position until 1816. He was also a brigadier general in the District of Columbia militia and was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson to be the first Commander of the District of Columbia militia in 1802. He also worked as
commissioner general of prisoners during the War of 1812. In 1817, he became the president of the Potomac Company. Mason died on March 19 1849 at age 82.He is buried at Christ Church Cemetery in Alexandria.

After the Mason's lost the Island, the property was advertised for sale in 1834, and again in 1836. In 1842 Colonel John Carter  bought the island and took over the Mason mansion.  Carter died in 1850 and the island was purchased by William A. Bradley, director general of the C&) Canal Company, postmaster for the City of Washington and Mayor. (He was fired as Postmaster after falling on the wrong side of Franlin Pierce in 1853)
During the 1850's, Bradley leased the property to Jacob Powers who used it for commercial gardening. Bradley later built  wharves and a dancing saloon on the property in an attempt to attract people to his island resort but the civil war ended that plan.




For a brief period during the Civil War, Union troops were stationed there, but otherwise the island has been uninhabited since the Mason family abandoned their summer home there. When the first two regiments of black volunteers were raised in the District during the civil war they were stationed on the island (known by the army as  Analostan Island)  to protect them from harassment from other (White) Union troops. Later that year, the Black troops where moved to so-called  "contraband farms" across the river in Virginia and 960 white District residents who had recently been drafted were sent to the camp on Analostan Island. Also stationed on the island, in October of 1863,  were members of the 109th New York State Volunteers who marched to the island from the B&O railroad depot.  Bradley died in 1867

Washington Gas Light Company purchased the island and owned it from 1913 to 1931 and allowed the place to become overun by vegetation and undergrowth. The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the 88.5-acre island from the Washington Gas Light Company in 1931, with the intention of erecting a memorial honoring Roosevelt. Up to that point, the island was widely known as Mason's Island until the Teddy Roosevelt memorial was built there.

How Woodyard Road Got Its Name

 The mother of Archbishop Carroll was born Eleanor Darnall. (Above as a child) Her father, Henry Darnall, owned estates at Woodyard, which was a  plantation on the Potomac.

The Sidney Estate



The Catholic University occupies what had once been the Sidney Estate, which was described as "three miles from the general post office..... The mansion" (now the Paulist House of Studies, "was approached by a long avenue of sycamore and locust trees and the entire way thither from the city was through a woodland of wild and romantic beauty, filled with singing birds and strewn with flowers as soon as spring had dawned."

Sidney was the home of  J. Harrison Smith, founder and first editor of the National Intelligencer.  The paper was started by Joseph Gales (1761-1841) a printer in Sheffield, England, who founded the Sheffield Register and got in trouble with the authorities for supporting the French Revolution. In 1794, he fled to the free city of Hamburg, and immigrated with his family to Philadelphia in 1795, where he worked for the American Daily Advertiser,  covering speeches in the U.S. Senate. In a few years, he founded
Independent Gazetteer and did printing work for a number of congressmen as a side business.  In 1798, members of the North Carolina delegation offered Gales the state printing contract, and he sold the paper  Samuel Harrison Smith in 1799. Gales eventually went on to establish what would become the  New Orleans Picayune.

Gales son,  Joseph Gales Jr., had been expelled from the University of North Carolina (His other son Weston Gales, was expelled from Yale) and bounced back to Philadelphia and formed a partnership with J. Harrison Smith in the National Intelligencer in DC.

Near the estate was  a deep hollow where a spring  ran “and all through the summer throngs of gallants and their ladies rode out to drink the healing waters.”   Thomas Jefferson, a firm believer in the spring’s medicinal properties,  was a regular visitor there and spent hours there talking politics with Harrison Smith “or some chance acquaintance while he quaffed great draughts and then made his Negro servant carry home a jugful.”

Slate Alley

 Slate Alley, which was where the Warner Theatre is today, was home to a few dozen small houses that belonged to tradesmen. Alley dwellers were usually the poorest of city residents who rented tiny houses built by landowners at the rear of their property. At one time, 3,000 of the dwellings existed in the city.  Those who lived in Slate Alley were considered part of the "hidden city" because neither their existence nor their houses were officially acknowledged by the District until about 1860. Census takers, and others, were not eager to visit the alleys, which had a reputation for being unsanitary places that bred disease as well as crime. Slate Alley, named for a slate yard that operated in the alley in the 1850s, has disappeared into a vast excavation hole.

28th Street

28th Street NW was once called Montgomery Street

                                                      The Old Ebbit Hotel




How Largo maryland Got Its Name


Largo is named after the massive estate of  Colonel Ninian Beall which started in what is today Upper Marlboro and ended in about Largo.  The estate was called Fifer Largo which was named after the town he grew up in,   Largo, Fife, Scotland. (Actually Largo, Fifes Shire, Scotland, in 1625.) Beall  had been an officer in the Scottish-English Army, which fought for the Stuarts' Army against Cromwell but was captured and sent into servitude in  Barbadoes for five years. He made his way to Maryland and became rich.
His other plantation was called the Rock of Dunbarton, four hundred and eight acres, which was, basically,  all of upper Georgetown where the Univeristy is today. He gave that to his son, George.


Beallsville Maryland (orignally called Monocacy Church) is named for the Beall familu.




 

Little Falls Virginia

In 1634  Englishman Henry Fleete, an adventurer from a wealthy family,  sailed up the river as far as the Little Falls, in Virginia.  He was interested in trading with the Patawomeke (Potomac) Indians who lived along the river near the area of Rosslyn.
However, the Patawomeke's enemies, the Nacotchtank raided the Patawomeke village in 1623, killed  a lot of people and took Fleete captive for fouryears 1623-1627  (Not twelve as is usually reported)  before the Virginia colony purchased his release.

The Nacotchtanks kept him as their prisoner for five years. Finally, the Virginia government paid the Nacotchtanks a ransom to release Fleet.


How Foxhall Road got its name

Henry Foxhall was the Mayor of the city of Georgetown, Maryland 1722.  He founded the Columbia Foundry in 1799 along the banks of a steam then known as Deep Creek and now known as Foundry Branch.



How Burleith got its name

The Burleith neighborhood in DC is bordered by Wisconsin Avenue to the East, Reservoir Road,  Georgetown center to the south, Whitehaven Park to the North and Glover Archbold Park to the West.
 


                                                              John Threlkeld, Henry's son 

The entire area was once an estate, called Berleith, part of a  1,000 acre track of land owned by  by Henry Threlkeld and his wife Mary who purchased the property in about 1751 when they were married. (Mary was a daughter of Dr. Gustavus Brown of Maryland, and widow of Reverend Matthew Hopkins.)  Henry Threlkeld died in 1781 and Mary died a few years later. Some have written that the house was built in 1716. 
Col. John Cox

 The manor house was probably on the site where Georgetown Visitation School is today. It was later the home to John Cox, who was Mayor of Georgetown from 1823 - 1845(It was then a city in Maryland)
It burned to the ground right after the end of the revolution and was rebuilt.  The pecan trees in the convent garden  around the property was  a gift from Thomas Jefferson to Threlkeld's son, John, when he married Elizabeth Ridgely.  John was also  Mayor of Georgetown, in 1793.  John Threlkeld gave most of the estate to his daughter Jane and her husband John Cox, who also served as mayor of Georgetown (1823 to 1845, a longer term than any other person) Cox built his own mansion on the property, called "The Cedars" on the site of what is now Duke Ellington School. Surrounding the estate was farmland and the Cox place was, essentially, the end of the city for some miles. 

Cox appears to have been a southern sympathizer because the home was confiscated by the government during the Civil War and was used by the Home for Destitute Colored Women and Children. In 1866 it was restored Cox. Less than a decade later, the Cox mansion was converted into Misses Earles' Seminary, an academy for girls.  In 1892, the Seminary, and what was left of the Cox mansion, was replaced by Western High School.



What it was then



Lingan Street is now 36th Street NW

Bridge Street is now M Street NW

High Street is now Wisconsin Avenue

Gay Street is now N Street NW as is First Steet (In Georgetown) 

Lingan Street is now 36th Street NW

Market Street is now 33rd Street NW


Apostolic delegation


The first home of the Apostolic delegation (Roman Catholic)  was on Second and I streets N.W.. The delegate was  Mgr. Francis Satolli, (later cardinal) In 1906, the moved delegation in 1906 from I street to  1811 Biltmore street. It is now the Embassy of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See and is located at 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW .



and thats why they call it Addison Road

In 1713 Col. Thomas Addison and James Stoddert obtained 3,000 acres between Rock Creek and the Potomac River. They called it  "Friendship" after the friendship of their two families . It was later purchased by John R. McLean who called it Friendship Heights.  


The Addisons are a founding family of Virginia and the District.


We don't know much about Mister Stoddert and we could not find a local road named for him. But he was born in Scotland, came here in 1650 and is buried in LaPlata (as are many of his family members) and was the grandfather of Benjamin Stoddert, First Secretary of the United States Navy. he lived at Halcyon House at the corner of 3400 Prospect Street NW. He is buried in the grasveyard at  the Addison Chapel in Seat Pleasant. 


**  We stand corrected. In fact there was a Stoddert Street, named after Benjamin Stoddert, in Washington. When the streets of Washington were rename din 1895, Stoddert street was changed to Q street NW. There is an apartment building at 2900 Q street called The Stoddert 


and that's why they call it Blue Plains

In 1662 Lord Baltimore granted a track of 1,000 acres to George Thompson in an area called Blew-Playne between Oxford Creek and the Eastern Branch, which is now called the Anacostia River.

Washington 1608


In 1608, Captain John Smith (The guy from the Pocahontas story) explored the Potomac River as far as Great Falls. he would later write that the river was  "frequented by otters, beavers, martens, and sables. Neither better fish, more plenty, nor more variety for small fish had any of us ever seen in a place. . .[The fish are] lying so thicke with their heads out of the water. . . neither better fish, nor more variety. . .had any of us ever seen in any place so swimming in the water."



Washington's third mayor


James Heighe Blake (1768 - 1819) of Calvert County, Maryland was a physician, and the third mayor of Washington, D.C., elected by the council of aldermen in 1813 and serving until 1817. The City Council elected him mayor on  June 14, 1813 and relected him three times afterwards.

When the English attacked an unprotected City of Washington on August 24, 1814, as part of the War of 1812, Blake urged First Lady Dolley Madison  to flee the city before the British arrived and then sent his own family over to the safety of Virginia.

Blake rounded up men to defend the city, but by then most of the city’s residents had fled to Maryland, so his ranks were thin. Blake finally had to give up the fight and flee the city or be taken prisoner  "I would exert myself” he wrote  “to the last moment and agree to die in the streets rather than give up the city, but, if all resistance was given over, and our military abandoned it, I would then also leave it and not surrender myself a prisoner to the enemy."

Blake died on July 29, 1819 at the age of fifty two. The remains were interred in the Methodist Episcopal Burial Ground in Georgetown and then moved to the William A. Gordon lot in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington D.C. on November 2, 1870.


DC's second mayor

Daniel Rapine (born, June 11, 1768 - died, July 28 or July 29, 1826) was a bookseller and printer from Philadelphia who moved to DC with intention of opening a bookstore. He ended up as the city’s second mayor, elected by the city council in June 1812 and serving for one year.


                                                                      DC in 1818

Raphine had served on the City Council from 1802 to 1806 and then again in 1812, when Congress restructured city ordinances to create a council of aldermen for the city, which was empowered to elected  the mayor. However, the incumbent  mayor, Robert Brent, as wanted to be mayor. There was a vote which ended in a tie, so the council held a coin toss to dtermine who the next mayor would be.......Rapine won.   

 Rapine received federal money to fund the city's defenses for the war of 1812...the defenses didn’t do much good, the British, being the British, burned the city to the ground. Rapine also held a lottery to build and fund  two schools and a public water works. He served as Postmaster of the House of Representatives in the 1820s, until his death in July 1826.

The Washington Infirmary


In 1806, the first public hospital in DC, The Washington Infirmary, was opened. It sat at 6th and 7th Streets, and M and N Streets, NW.  Its mission was to provide for "the poor, disabled, and infirm persons."  

In 1842, Congress authorized the conversion of the old jail in Judiciary Square into a hospital for disabled seamen and soldiers and the insane. Across the street from the jail-hospital at about the site where the court of appeals stands today, was a slave a market.

 Two years after the hospital was opened, it was moved to the medical faculty of Columbian College (George Washington University) and was renamed The Washington Infirmary. It was the city's first teaching hospital as well as the city's first general hospital.

It was taken over by the Army durng the Civil War. It burned to the ground in November 1861 and was later replaced by the Judiciary Square Hospital


Washingtons first mayor


                                              By John William Tuohy

Washington’s first mayor was Robert Brent (born, circa 1763–died, September 7, 1819). He was born to American-Irish Catholic royalty, in Woodstock, Stafford County, Virginia, his mother was Ann Carroll, and sister to John Carroll was the first Catholic Bishop of the United States. Brent's father may not have had the best bloodlines but he was rich, he was a contractor and quarry owner. 

Robert joined the family business and sold the sandstone to the U.S. government for the White House, U.S. Capitol, and other early construction projects across the District.

Now wealthy in his own right, in 1789 Brent married Mary Young, the daughter of Notley Young, (He owned most of what is today Northeast DC then called Youngsborough) a plantation owner in Prince George's County, Maryland. (The Carrolls and the Notley-Youngs were crossed in blood line smany times) 

                                     Notley Young and his wife

Notley Young House on Fourteenth and C Streets, SW (now demolished) Designed by Benjamin Latrobe in 1802, it was razed in 1913 to make way for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.


 The young couple lived on property owned by Carrol family (Deeded to him by his mother who also gave him thousands of acres in Montgomery and  Washington Counties.) on what is today Capital Hill but that was property was annexed by the Federal government to make room for the US capital building. (The Carrol’s were shrewd land speculators who sold their DC property off in a lot system that is still used today in the District)
Brent moved to a massive home located on the southeast corner of the present 12th Street and Maryland Avenue SW in Washington and later to another on Florida Ave and 6th Street NE, now part of the Gallaudet University. The town Brentwood, in Prince George's County and the DC neighborhood of Brentwood take their names from his home, which formed most of the original estate.

In 1817, he built the Brentwood Mansion in Washington County as a present for his daughter Eleanor on her marriage to Congressman Joseph Pearson. Brentwood was designed by one of the Capitol's architects, Benjamin H. Latrobe.

In 1802, Congress officially incorporated the city, including in its incorporation and hired Brent as mayor. He was reappointed to the position seven times by Jefferson and three times by James Madison, finally relinquishing the position in June 1812.

It was Brent who built the districts government one office at a time. He established the public school system, a police department, a fire department, and a system for taxation. When city planner Pierre L'Enfant was dismissed before completion of his design, Brent took over and laid out many of the city’s streets.

 Brent never took a salary for his service as mayor.

During his lifetime, Brent also served as Paymaster General of the Army, Judge of the Orphan's Court for Washington County, Maryland and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Public Schools. He was the first president of the Patriotic Bank and of the Columbia Manufacturing Co.


Brent died in Washington, DC, on 7 September 1819 and is buried in Forest Glen (at St. Johns Church).

The Robert Brent Museum Magnet School in D.C. is named in his honor.

Veazey Street


Veazey Street in uppper northwest  is anmed after Thomas Ward Veazey (January 31, 1774 – July 1, 1842) who served the state of Maryland  in a variety of roles including Governor from 1836 to 1839, when he was selected to serve three consecutive one-year terms by the Maryland General Assembly. Veazey was the last Maryland governor to be elected in this fashion and also the last Whig Party member to serve as Maryland governor. As governor, he authorized $8 million dollars to begin projects such as the C&O canal and the B&O railroad. His home, Greenfields is lsite don the National Register of historic places. It was one of the fox hunting centers of Cecil County Maryland

The Raleigh Hotel located at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW in Washington, D.C.

In 1930 a single room cost $3 to $4 without bath, $4 to $6 with bath; double $4 to $6 without bath, $5 to $10 with bath. Main dining room and coffee shop: a la carte and table d'hote service. Breakfast 75c, dinner $1.50.







Waiter strike

Washington At War: The Mall


US Army Hospital on the Mall

Enough with the burning already

                                                 The capital building 1814

August 24 1814
At high noon, at the battle of Bladensburg,  the English Army essentially beats the daylights out of the US Army, which breaks ranks and runs.
In DC,  Dolly Madison, nobodies fool, leaves the White House with Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington and heads south the present day McLean.  
By 7:30 pm, the British are coming to DC. As a means to stop the oncoming British Army, DC residents set fire to the Anacostia bridge, but the English put the fire out  Around 8 pm, residents set  fire to the Navy Yard in Southeast  to prevent it from falling to the British. An hour and a half later, the English set fire to the Capitol. An hour and a half after that, the burn the Treasury Building, the War and State offices and the White House.
Suddenly the skies turned dark and DC was drenched in an enormous rain and wind storm which put out the fires and saved city.

How Van Ness Street got its name

Van Ness Street is in upper northwest DC, between Wisconsin Avenue and Reno Road. It is named after John Peter Van Ness (1770 - March 7, 1846) who was a United States Representative from New York. Born in Ghent, New York to an old Dutch family.  On January 17, 1803, Van Ness's seat was declared vacant, because in 1802, he had been appointed by President Thomas Jefferson a major of militia in the District of Columbia, and under the U.S. Constitution, no member of Congress could hold any federal office.  Van Ness decided to make DC his home and was president of the second city council in 1803 and was later an alderman of the city and mayor from 1830 to 1834.
Van Ness was second vice president of the Washington National Monument Society in 1833 and was president of the commissioners of the Washington City Canal in 1834, and president of the branch bank of the United States at Washington, D.C.; he was also president of the National Metropolitan Bank from 1814 until his death 1846.
John Walker Maury, a future mayor of Washington DC in the mid 1860s, was only 26 years old when he was elected to the Washington Common Council, (The City Council) where he served for five years until declining to run again in 1840. In 1841, he was elected to the Board of Aldermen. In 1846, he was selected to replace the late John P. Van Ness as the president of the National Bank of the Metropolis.
He body was placed in the Van Ness family Mausoleum, designed by George Hadfield as a copy of the Temple of Vesta in Rome, which stood on H Street, NW between Ninth and Tenth Streets on the grounds of the orphan asylum founded by Mrs. Van Ness. It was built at a cost of $34,000 with space for 18, it ultimately held seven.  The mausoleum was moved by Col. W. H. Philip to Oak Hill Cemetery in 1872.  The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1872, Mr. Van Ness was reinterred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown.

The Plug Uglies come to DC

The formation of the Know Nothing party would, as John F. Kennedy pointed out, give the American Irish the odd distinction of being the only group of Americans to have a political party formed against them.
The Know Nothings were founded in New York City in 1853 by a former dry goods store owner named James W. Barker under the name The Supreme Order of the Star Spangled Banner. It was suppose to be a super secret organization that was dedicated to keeping foreigners, naturalized citizens, and above all else, Catholics, out of political office. In the organizations prime years (1850's -1860's) all of those things, foreign and Catholic, meant the Irish who made up 45% of the countries foreign born.
On June 1, 1857, a Know Nothing sponsored group of thugs calling themselves the Plug Uglies arrived by train from Baltimore to disrupt the local  municipal elections. Armed with a cannon, rifles, pistol and clubs, they marched to Northern market then the cities commercial district and quickly took control of the voting booths. They beat Irish citizens who tried to vote and threatened to burn down Irish and African American ghettos.
The city's mayor was William Beans Magruder (1810–1869) was a prominent physician who served as Mayor from 1856 to 1858. Although born in Montgomery County, the family moved to Georgetown where Magruder was raised and educated. He set up his medical practice there in 1831. A year later, when a cholera epidemic broke out.  Magruder was placed in charge of the Western Hospital and his heroic actions during the epidemic made his reputation as an important physician in the city. 
Magruder is the subject of a now famous anecdote that once, while attempting to talk a small boy into taking a dose of castor oil, he promised the child that the medicine was very sweet, when the boy replied, "Well, then, if it's so good, why don't you take some yourself?"
Magruder entered public office in 1835, when he became a member of the Washington Board of Health. Two years later, he was elected to the city's Common Council, then to the Board of Aldermen in 1843, where he served until 1856.
                                                      John Thomas Towers
John Thomas Towers, a Know Nothing had been mayor before Magruder. Towers, born in Alexandria to English immigrant parents, was trained as a printer and ran several book and printing shops in Washington until 1852 when President Millard Fillmore appointed him superintendent of printing at the U.S. Capitol.
 (The position was the forerunner of the modern Government Printing Office.)  The Know-Nothings put Towers up for mayor against incumbent John Walker Maury in 1854.
                                                   
                                                     John Walker Maury
Maury was born in Caroline County, Virginia to a prominent family. His great-grandfather, Reverend James Maury, had founded the Maury Classical School for Boys at which Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were students. His grandfather was headmaster of a school in Williamsburg; his great-uncle, "Consul" James Maury, was the United States' first consul to Liverpool, England, appointed by George Washington; and his uncle, Matthew Fontaine Maury, was a famous and accomplished oceanographer.
He moved at 17 to Washington City (as DC was then called), where he established a law practice. As mayor, Maury (and the philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran) convinced Congress to appropriate funds for the Government Hospital for the Insane, now known as St. Elizabeth’s. He also oversaw the start of construction of Washington's public waterworks. Additionally, he appropriated the money to pay sculptor Clark Mills to complete the statue of Andrew Jackson that stands in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.
The year 1854 was the political peak for Know Nothings all across America that year, and the party elected mayors in most of the major US cities, including DC and John T. Towers defeated Maury.
 As mayor go, Towers was a disaster.  In 1856, Towers declined to seek re-election. In his place, the Know-Nothings nominated Silas H. Hill to succeed him as mayor. However, the city's Democrats, Republicans, and remaining Whigs banded together as the "Anti-Know-Nothing Party" and nominated Magruder. After one of the fiercest campaigns in the history of Washington, Magruder won the mayoral election by a mere 13 votes.
As mayor, Magruder worked to build the city's infrastructure, in particular building an archway over a stream that then ran near L Street and frequently overflowed, damaging the city streets.
The Plug-Uglies turned away anti-Know-Nothing voters with rocks, guns, and knives, until some citizens brought weapons of their own and the violence grew into mob rule. When the rioters reached levels of over 1,000, Magruder, commanding a force of less than 56 full time Police officers most of whom had abandoned their posts in the face of the pending violence, was forced to close the polls and appeal to President Buchanan, one of eleven children of poor Ulster Irish parents, for help.  (Of those eleven children, three died in infancy and only one o lived past the year 1840) However, before soldiers arrived, the rioters had stolen a Federal cannon and Magruder pled with the mob to abandon it and surrender until Navy Marines arrived and dispersed the rioters.
                                                                Buchannan
Buchanan also knew a thing or two about the Know Nothings. In fact, in 1856, former president, Millard Fillmore's Know-Nothing candidacy helped Buchanan defeat John C. Fremont, the first Republican candidate for president. 

Buchanan ordered marines from the nearby Capitol Hill barracks to restore order. General Archibald Henderson (January 21, 1783 – January 6, 1859 75) the so-called "Grand old man of the Marine Corps" hailed from Colchester (A former wealthy tobacco port, it is an unincorporated town on the Occoquan River) in Fairfax County. Henderson would be the longest-serving Commandant of the Marine Corps (over 38 years) and had served on the USS Constitution during her famous victories in the War of 1812.
                                                                  Henderson
He went into the field as Commandant during the Indian campaigns in Florida and Georgia during 1836 and 1837, and was promoted brevet brigadier general for his actions in these campaigns. Tradition holds that he pinned a note to his door that read, "Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over."
Henderson is credited with thwarting attempts by President Andrew Jackson to combine the Marine Corps with the Army in 1829. Instead, Congress passed the Act for the Better Organization of the Marine Corps in 1834, ensuring the Marines would remain part of the United States Department of the Navy.  A  sword presented to Henderson after the end of the Mexican-American War read "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli" giving the opening words to the Marines' hymn.
Henderson, then 74-years-old and dressed in a civilian suit (He had been in church when the call came in to the Marines barracks on 8th Street just after noon) ordered  Maj. Henry Tyler to march two companies of marines from their Barracks to down town. Also in command were Capts. Jacob Zeilin and William Maddox. (of Charles County, the USS Maddox is named for him) Henderson rode at the front of the men; armed with an umbrella (Others say it was a cane)
The two companies marched to the District’s city hall, where Major Tyler discussed the situation with Mayor Magruder and then carried on towards the polling headquarters at what is now 5th and K streets.
The marines took the voting booths back from the mob and ordered the rioters to disband.  Instead, the Plug Uglies turned their Cannon on the General and threatened to shoot if he and his men did not withdraw. Henderson, riding on horseback and dressed in civilian clothes, instead stuck his umbrella into the Plug Uglies Cannon and turned his back on the mob defying them to shot. "Give my men due cause to impose the wrath of God" (Another version says the generals words were “Men, you had better think twice before you fire this piece at the Marines.”)
At that point, a squad of marines that included Henderson’s son, rushed into the Plug Uglies line and wrestled the cannon away from the gangsters (The term gangster rose out of another massive street gang of the time, in Detroit)   
Again, Henderson ordered the mob to disperse and then ordered his marines to march into the mob, Bayonets fixed. The plug Uglies responded by firing into the oncoming Marines with pistol shot, killing one and injuring several more. The Marines charged the mob.  In the next several minutes, 12 people fell severely wounded. Eventually the marines managed to push the mob back to the B&O railroad station where the Plug Uglies where reinforced with a contingent of Know Nothings brought in from Baltimore. In the next 24 hours, five more people lay dead and scores more were wounded before the Marines could not retake the city streets from the Nativist's.
Mayor Magruder did not receive the Anti-Know-Nothing nomination for mayor in the 1858 election, and the coalition's new candidate, James G. Berret, came to office. Magruder ran again as an independent candidate in 1860 but lost to Berret. After leaving office, Magruder continued to practice medicine until dying from a stomach infection in May of 1869.
John Walker Maury died one year after leaving office. He is buried at the Congressional Cemetery in DC. The Maury Elementary School in upper northwest was named in his honor.
Know Nothing mayor John Thomas Towers also died in 1857, one year after leaving office and was interred in Congressional Cemetery.
                       
There is a bronze and granite memorial in Meridian Hill Park in DC in honor of President Buchannan. It was designed by Baltimore architect William Gorden Beecher and sculpted by Maryland artist Hans Schuler. Commissioned in 1916 but not approved by the U.S. Congress until 1918, and not completed and unveiled until June 26, 1930. The statue of Buchanan is between the classical figures of a male and female which represent law and diplomacy, with the engraved text reading: "The incorruptible statesman whose walk was upon the mountain ranges of the law," a quote from a member of Buchanan's cabinet, Jeremiah S. Black.
General Henderson is buried in the Congressional Cemetery.  Henderson Hall Barracks on 8th Street SE is named for him
Capt. Zeilin, one of the two officers that led the marines against the Plug Uglies, was later promoted to Brigadier General and served as the seventh Commandant of the United States Marine Corps from 1864 to 1876. It was Zeilin who officially approved of the design of the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor," as the emblem for the Marine Corps. He died in D.C but is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.