The Scheible-Roberts House (201 East Windsor)
The Germans Arrive
The first arrivals to the new developments of Del Ray and St Elmo in 1894 found themselves in a quandary. Wood-Harmon, the developer, was merely selling marked-off lots 25 feet across by 100 feet deep along a grid of dirt roads. No one could say with any certainty whether the area would be developed into row houses, like Alexandria (now Old Town and Parker-Gray) or if people would buy multiple lots and put up single-family homes. As a result the initial wave of houses, built in 1894-95, featured both types.
Newlywed 17-year-olds Gottlieb and Christina Scheible immigrated from Germany in 1882 and settled in Washington DC. Living on 8th Street NW. Gottlieb worked as clerk while Christina was occupied with their expanding family, sons William in 1885 and Charlie in 1887, daughter Matilda in 1888, son Henry in 1892, daughter Minnie in 1893, son Christian in 1897 and finally son Royal in 1899.
The family was apparently outgrowing their home in DC and when Wood-Harmon opened up sales of lots in the new Del Ray development in May 1894 the Scheibles were among the first to put down their money, buying lot 351 at the corner of Windsor and Mt. Vernon on July 16th. They immediately put up the row-type house now identified as 201 East Windsor Avenue and in 1895 the County assessed them at $50 for the land and $700 for the house.
Apparently pressed for money in their new home, Gottlieb took out a mortgage on the house with the Mercantile-Railway Building and Loan Association of Alexandria in December 1900. Unable to make the payments the association put the house up for foreclosure auction in October 1906, describing it as a desirable lot “improved by a two-story six room frame house”.
The Next Generation:
The house was purchased at the auction by Edward Roberts, who also bought two adjacent lots at the same time, Del Ray 352 from realtor John Normoyle and Del Ray 353 from Wood-Harmon at the same time, these creating a large lot to the east used partly for garages and sheds.
Edward was a 53-year-old teamster at the time from New York, whose parents had immigrated from England. His wife, 6 years younger, was the former Sarah Underwood of Virginia lineage. She bore him eight children, Annie (born 1881), Susan (1882), Lillian (1885), Etta (1888), Benjamin (1890), Richard (1892), Elizabeth (1896), and Edward (1898). Together they moved into their new house on Windsor Avenue, although Susan, Etta and Richard had moved out by 1920, and Lillian lived on-and-off with her sister Annie and husband John Harding.
The Roberts' house at 201 E Windsor in 1970. It is not clear when the bricktex siding was added, but it was popular in. the 1930s and 1940s
The parents health went into decline in the early 1920s, with Sarah suffering from chronic cardio-vascular disease and Edward's kidneys beginning to fail. They died the same year, Edward in January 1926 of pneumonia and Sarah in November of heart failure.
Edward Jr had stayed in the house and Lillian had moved back in around 1922 and they remained there after their parents' death through the 1930s, Lillian having inherited the property. In May 1939, however, Edward married Naomi Shipp of DC at the Presbyterian church in Fredericksburg. Both were 38 at the time. They initially set up housekeeping at 201 and Lillian sold them Lot 353 and the east half of 352 next door in July 1940 as part of a massive realignment of property among the children, their parents having died without wills. In the meantime, Edward and Naomi purchased the vacant lot 14 of the McKerichar Mt. Vernon subdivision, now 104 Stewart.
Edward and Naomi seem to have relocated during the war, returning shortly thereafter. In June 1947 they bought 205 E Windsor1 next door, but rented it out, instead putting up a four-apartment house at 104 Stewart, and living in Apartment No.1. In Februry 1962 they bought 201 from Lillian as well, giving them two adjacent houses.2
1Del Ray lots 354 and 355 had been purchased by JE and Susan Cassedy (the latter Edward's sister) who put the current 205 E Windsor up in the early 1920s. On their deaths it passed to their children, who sold it to the Roberts'.
2A minor readjustment of 8 inches in a property line in 1950 had, in practice, defined several lots. DR 351 and half of 352 were 201 E Windsor, DR 353 and the other half of 352 were the (still) vacant 203 E Windsor, DR 354 and 355 were renamed lot 5-354 and became 205 E Windsor. DR 356 and 357, under a different owner, were renamed lot 5-356 as 207 E Windsor.
Lillian continued to live in the original house on the corner of Mt. Vernon but in 1974 she was moved to a nursing home in Fredericksburg, where she died in June of cardiac arrest. After her death Edward and Naomi moved back into 201 East Windsor. Edward had been suffering from high blood pressure since the mid-1960s and he suffered a heart attack shortly after Christmas of 1981 and was taken to the hospital, but died on December 28th. Naomi survived another ten years, but found it difficult to maintain and in June 1984 she sold both houses, 201 and 205, to Dubois Oliver, owner of other properties in the area, ending 77 years of Roberts' at 201 East Windsor. She finally passed away in March 1991. All of the Roberts' are buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
The Scheible/Roberts house in 2015 with its wide side yard and Bricktex siding mercifully gone.
Susan married Jay Cassedy, a railroad dispatcher and they moved into 1809 Vt Vernon Avenue (now Kesterson's) with their sons Everett and Richard. They were thus just a block away from her parent's original house and remained there until her death in April 1944 and Jay's in June 1945. In fact, they invested heavily in real estate so that by the time they died they owned the whole bock on the east side of Mt Vernon between Duncan and Bellefonte (to include their house), as well as 205 and 207 E Bellefonte behind their house, along with 205 East Windsor (which they rented out). They left behind three sons; Richard, Jay Everette and James.
Etta married Louis W. Poore in July 1914 and they bought the lot and house at 203 East Howell two years later. They had a son Louis E in 1917. They separated in the mid-1920s and Etta moved in with Lillian at 201 E Windsor. She re-married to a CM Bell around 1935, but by 1937 she was back living with Lillian and lived there until her death in February 1948.
205 E Windsor in 1970, built by JE and Susie Roberts Cassedy, sold to Edward Roberts
The Other Roberts Children
Most of Edward and Sarah's children remained close to the family home on Windsor Avenue. Annie married John Harding, a local leading citizen and later president of the Bank of Del Ray. Their beautiful, large house was just diagonally across the corner of Windsor and Mt. Vernon. She passed away in 1958, a year after her husband. They were survived by their two sons, James and John Milton.
Richard Brawner, sometimes known by his middle name, another railroad employee, served in World War I, married Gladys Shepherd and moved to Fairfax County, where they had two daughters, Jeanette and Margaret. Gladys passed away in 1956 and he remarried to a very young Alice Wharton before his death in 1966.
Benjamin was the most tragic of the siblings. Never married, he lived at home and took a job as a messenger, then a clerk, with the US Bureau of Printing and Engraving. He had been seriously hurt in World War I and probably suffered from PTSD, and at 1.15AM on 14 June 1924 he committed suicide.
Elizabeth, also known as Bessie, married Robert “Tony” Poss, tall, slender and blue-eyed, in the early 1920s. He had served in WW I and after a brief stint as a clerk in a wholesale grocer's he became a repairman at Potomac Yard. They moved around as renters, mostly on East Windsor and Mt Vernon Avenue, and had a daughter Elizabeth, before setting in at 2704 Farm Road in the Beverly Hills area around 1949. Unfortunately in mid-June 1965 she fell while shopping, breaking her leg. She had long suffered from emphysema and was prone to pneumonia and the complications were just too much – she passed away in the hospital on 10 July. Robert followed, victim of a heart attack, 15 months later. They were survived by daughter Elizabeth.
In addition, Edward's brother Richard, also a teamster, had purchased what is now the lot at 223 East Del Ray Avenue in 1904 and put up the large house there in 1905, thus actually beating his older brother into the neighborhood by a year. He provided lodging for his nephew Brawner while he was working as a railroad clerk from about 1910 and until he was inducted, and again shortly after the war. Richard's wife Annie passed away in October 1920 and he sold the house and moved to Falls Church, where he died in 1927.