From Clerk to the Railroad
The Rucker house was purchased by Ernest R Adkins, a railroad engineer. He moved from Delaware with his widowed mother Martha, older brother John and sister Mary. They continued to live there, with Martha passing away at 72 in 1923, until they sold the house in 1925.
None of those Adkins married and they moved into 415 Overlook Drive together where they lived until Mary passed away at 80 in 1960 and John at 88 in 1961. Ernest then moved into the Hermitage until he too died in 1963 at 85.
No, Not the Actor
Adkins sold the house to another railroadman, Robert Duvall and his wife Katherine. Robert had been born in Fairfax County in January 1899 to Abraham Lincoln Duvall and the former Laura Virginia Rhine. Tall, of medium build with brown eyes he worked as a carpenter at Camp Humphries (now Ft Belvoir) until the end of WW I halted most construction work.
In the meantime his older sister Helen had married Kenneth M Springman in 1916 and given birth to a son, Fague, two years later. Kenneth owned a house on South Lee Street in Alexandria and Robert and two other brothers moved in there, joining Helen. For whatever reason, Kenneth fled and in 1923 Helen was granted a divorce based on desertion and abandonment.
Apparently Robert had been able to save money from his new job as a brakeman at Potomac Yard and in 1925 he was able to buy 302 La Verne and move out of his rental accommodations on Clifford St. He and Katherine were joined there by his widowed mother along with Helen and her son, and then his two sons born there, Robert Jr (1926) and Joseph (1929).
In April 1932 Robert Duvall, by then a widower, sold the house back to Ernest Adkins. Little more is known of the Duvalls. Helen passed away in Alexandria in 1969 at age 77, survived by her son, while Robert died in Palm Beach, Florida in November 1972.
The Next Step
Adkins only held the house the second time for a month before turning around and reselling it to Byron Sutherland, an electrician, and his wife Maud Julia, the Sutherlands taking out a $2,000 mortgage. Byron was a WW I veteran, who had previously lived on South Fairfax Street.
The depression hurt the job market and by 1938 Byron was a guard rather than a tradesman and in August 1939 he sold the house to Curtis and Addie van Dornes, who took out a mortgage for $5,950.2 Curtis was a 35-year-old trainman from Alabama who, with his 28-year-old wife had two daughters, and also provided lodging for Curtis' brother and his wife.
For reasons unclear, the Van Dornes sold the property back to Byron in May 1941, still subject to the $5,950 mortgage, and moved to Manassas. Tragically, Addie died of cancer two years later, just 31 years old. Daughter Catherine married in 1953 and Joyce in 1954, the latter just a month after her father's remarriage. Curtis passed away in 1982, living long enough to see at least one grand daughter into the teenage years.
Byron and Maud Julia had moved into a house on Alexander Avenue, then into 211 E Mason, and did not bother to move back to the house on La Verne. Instead, they rented it out to John and Daisy Sharrah, who had moved down from Pennsylvania. John had been a butcher but on moving to Alexandria took a job with Hopkins Furniture Co. In July 1946 the Sutherlands sold the house to the Sharrahs, who took out a $5,100 mortgage. They lived there into the 1950s.
1 Before the renumbering program of the late 1930s, this was 300 Laverne.
2The Sutherlands took advantage of this opportunity to split the land in two. The Van Dornes got 55 feet of frontage and the house, while the other 45 feet went to BH McCreary to become part of 306 La Verne.