1407 Wayne (Pearl's House)

This was one of the two houses at Wayne that MB was apparently satisfied to use as rooming houses until a suitable buyer could be found. Harlow rented out portions of the house, usually for a year or two, to various tenants for about ten years.

He finally sold it to William W and Mary Huntington in November 1919. Huntington was an inspector for the Southern Railway and they may have rented in the house for the prior year or two. In any event they were not there long, selling the house to Richard H and Seola Pearl Fletcher in August 1921, for which they assumed a prior mortgage for $2,500 and took on a new one for $700. Hamilton had been born in March 1872 in Madison County and found employment as a clerk for the Southern Railway.

 They had already started their family, featuring sons James (b 1902) and Earl (1911), and daughters Elvira (1909) and Lucille (1917).

 Things did not get off to an auspicious beginning. Son James, 20 years old, went into the hospital and underwent an operation on a retroperitoneal cyst on 27 October 1922 but complications developed, he went into shock and died the following day from internal bleeding. Were that not enough, six years later Hamilton died suddenly of a massive aneurysm in July 1928. Seola (known as Pearl to family) and the two young girls were on their own.

 Succor of sorts was on the horizon. The Fletchers had taken out a $2,600 mortgage with the German Cooperative Building Association in Alexandria shortly after acquiring the property as a consolidation of prior debts. In February 1929 the Association allowed Pearl to default on the mortgage and then immediately buy the property back for $1,474.50 which, with other debts, she paid with a new $1,600 mortgage, essentially reducing her debt to 61% of the prior level.

By that time the elder daughter had already married. Indeed, Annie Elvira had married Richard O Allen, a railroad clerk from Maryland, three months before her father passed away. They had a son, Robert, in 1929 and moved into the house on Wayne where Elvira raised Robert and Richard worked as a railway timekeeper. Once Robert started school Elvira started work as a sales clerk in a department store while mom took care of after-school duties. Earl took a job right out of high school as a sales clerk in a drug store and in 1933 he married Eleanor Sherwood and moved to Washington Street.

MB was still trying to sell 1409 (foreground) and 1407 (background) in April 1910

In the meantime daughter Lucille had begun work for the C&P Telephone Co as a “computer operator”, then moved to switchboard operator, almost certainly in the big telephone company building on Mt Vernon, all the while living on Wayne.

Thus, by early 1940 the household had three salaries coming in: Lucille making $1,269/year as a computer operator, Richard Allen at $1,560 clerking for the railroad, and Elvira at $1,040 in sales.

 Pearl finally sold the house, three decades after moving in, to Ray and Wilma Jennings in March 1950. At that the Fletcher family dispersed somewhat. Pearl moved to 36 East Linden, surprisingly not much smaller, while Lucille moved to the Old Dominion Garden Apartments, and Richard and Elvira went to Groves Street in Mt Ida.

 At the phone company Lucille met the divorced Cecil R Langyher, a lawyer by training who managed some C&P facilities. They married in April 1953 and moved into a new house at 500 Monticello in the North Ridge neighborhood. Pearl suffered from emphysema and chronic bronchitis and shortly thereafter she joined them. Richard and Annie Allen moved to Uhle St, off Glebe Road in Arlington.

Back at 1407 the Jennings did not stay long, turning around and selling the house to Andrew and Elizabeth Severson in August 1951. They stayed there 26 years, selling it in March 1977.

A family reunion. Pearl is at the far left. Next to her is her brother George Walter (see the Walter House page)