The sons of Michael Homiller (1780?-1837?) prospered on Georgetown Heights for most of the 19th century. But the Homillers did not participate in the subdivision and residential development that led to Glover Park, as much of their local real estate had passed out of their hands by the end of the century.
Among the dead of Holy Rood Cemetery are William Homiller (1810?-1871), and Theresa Homiller (1805-1864), members of one of the earliest families in what is now Glover Park. (Holy Rood section/lot 23/259)
The Georgetown Homillers are, in all likelihood, descended from German immigrants who originally settled in Philadelphia. Some early sightings include:
Henry and Michael Homiller, Philadelphia (Northern Liberties and Bristol)
US Census, 1790-1820
1810 census, Frederick County, Maryland. p.605
Possible German spellings of their Americanized surname include Hohmüller, Hochmüller, Haumüller, and Heumüller.
Michael Homiller (1780?-1837?)
Married Susan/Susanna Miller, circa 1809.
Wilhelm, son of Michael Homiller and wife Susanna, born September 4, 1809, baptized February 17, 1811
St. Michaels Evangelical (Lutheran) Church, Germantown, Philadelphia.
The Homillers came to Georgetown between the birth of their second son (1814) and the birth of the third (1817), but Michael Homiller is not in 1820 DC census.
“$50 reward for sorrel horse, with saddle and plated stirrups; seen at Coonrod’s ferry on the Potomac.––Michael Homiller.” (National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser, December 24, 1818)
In 1821 Michael Homiller was a witness of his neighbor William Kuhns’s will; Kuhns lived on High Street, what is now Wisconsin Avenue. (Wesley Pippenger, District of Columbia Probate Records, p.120)
Homiller acquired part of lot 266 in Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown (BH266) on the west side of what is now Wisconsin Avenue, just below Calvert Street NW.
Nevitt to Rizner to Wheatley, records the outcome of litigation. Nevitt complained against estate of Henry C. Gaither, deceased 1811, that the title wasn’t clear and obtained a decree of chancery court, finding for Nevitt. The northern Part of BH266 went from Nevitt to Rizner to Wheatley, for $1470. (DC Liber WB1 (1820) ff.140/87)
Sale of southern part of BH266 to Michael Homiller. (DC Liber WB1 ff.300/185)
Circuit Court of Washington County, D.C., May term, 1825: In Chancery. Mary Wheatley, administratrix of William Wheatley, deceased, ratifies sale by Harvey Cruttenden, trustee, of lot 266 in Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown to Michael Homiller, for $500. William Brent, clerk. (National Intelligencer, June 29, 1825)
Michael Homiller buys the rest of BH266 at auction for $500, as Wheatley had died. (DC Liber WB28 (1829) ff.273/168)
(In 1995, Mrs. Carol Landfer Montgomery of 2429 Tunlaw Road found, while double-digging her garden in back of the house, an 1829 penny, struck by a punch. The land was originally the back part of BH266.)
Michael Homiller, age 40 to 50; wife age 30 to 40; 2 sons age 10-15; 1 son age 15-20; 80-90 year old woman, blind.
(1830 Georgetown Census, p.195)
Michael Homiller had died by 1837. (See marriage notice of William Homiller, below.)
William/Wilhelm Homiller (1810-1871), First Son of Michael Homiller
Wilhelm, son of Michael Homiller and wife Susanna, born September 4, 1809, baptized February 17, 1811, at St. Michaels Evangelical Church, Germantown, Philadelphia.
Some time around 1830 to 1836, William Homiller married Julia Crowley. She died, possibly in childbirth.
Walter Homiller, died 1836, age 13 months, son of William Homiller and Julia Crowley, Upper Graveyard [Holy Rood], half pay, (Trinity Church Death Register, p.67)
William, the “son of the late Michael Homiller and of Suzan Miller”, then married Mary Therese Duvall alias Poor, daughter of the late Francis Poor and Mary Witsell (Wetzel?) of the District of Columbia, January 1, 1837.
William Homiller, baptized in a Protestant church, but a leading Catholic of Georgetown; possibly a convert as a result of his second marriage.
William Homiller buys of Alexander Burrows, land in Scotch (Scott’s) Ordinary above the NW boundary of Georgetown. In this transaction Trecy (Therese) Homiller signs with an X, as does William Homiller. (DC Liber WB85 (1840) f.68/48)
In 1858 lived at 415 High Street (Wisconsin Avenue and Calvert).
Their land is marked on the 1859 Boschke map as directly across Wisconsin Avenue from St. Albans School, on the south side of what is now Cathedral Avenue.
In 1860 census, William’s household includes Joseph Duvall, Andrew Poor, Randolph Poor, all three butchers, and two slaves.
Trecy (Therese) Homiller died in 1864 (Trinity Church Death Register, p.120)
Joseph Duvall is William’s brother-in-law(?) and business partner. By 1866 they had transferred to Baltimore, and in the 1870’s (date lost) the Georgetown Courier reported: “Messrs. Homiller and Duvall of Baltimore have sold their farm and houses near this town to Mr. E. Lyddane for $7500.”
The Duvall-Homiller-Poore house may have been identical to the “brick house on Georgetown Heights”, at about Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, a large part of which Jacob H. Kengla (son of Susan Poore Kengla) offered for rent. (Georgetown Courier, March 24, 1866. See also “Kengla mansion razed, to make way for Massachusetts Avenue.” (Washington Times, July 22, 1911)
“Leather store of William Homiller & Co. on High Street”. (Georgetown Courier July 3, 1875)
In 1866, “William Homiller of Baltimore”, and Joseph Duvall appear in the Holy Rood Cemetery Ledger, p.165, and buy plot in Section 23, lot 259:
William Homiller, 1810-1871
Trecy Homiller, 1805-1864
Charles Homiller (1814-1888), Second Son of Michael Homiller
Born in Philadelphia
Married Catharine Collins, November 15, 1832, Washington DC.
1840 census, Charles Homiller, 6 person household, including 3 slaves, 2 female, and 1 male
1850 US Federal Census, Georgetown North Ward, Washington DC
Charles Homiller (36) b. in Philadelphia
Catherine (35) b. DC
Elizabeth Collins (73), born Maryland
Elizabeth L. Homiller (17)
Lavinia Homiller (15)
Michael H. Homiller (13)
Catherine I. (7)
Susanna Homiller (6)
Armistead Homiller (3)
Thomas C Homiller (1)
Charles Homiller’s 1855 Assessment lists 60 acres, a house, and a log dwelling and stable.
1856–1874, Vestry of St. Albans (Episcopal) Church
In 1858 lived at 415 High Street with brother William, but he also had a house near Fulton and Tunlaw.
1860 Census p.168, 4th ward of Georgetown, Master Butcher
About 1856, Charles Homiller’s oldest daughter Lavinia married Benjamin Jackson Cross, and went to live with him on his farm in Seneca, Maryland. The 1860 census of Montgomery County shows Benjamin J. Cross (31), a farmer, worth $9000 in real estate, and $7,400 personal; his wife Lavinia, and children Charles (3), and Marion (1).
Four years later––on or about May 8, 1861––Lavinia’s younger sister, Catherine Isadore Homiller, eloped with her neighbor, Manuel Carvallo Causten (who was known as Tom), a medical student at Georgetown College. Causten’s father had a summer house at Weston, across from what is now the Russian Embassy. The couple may have met in summer, when both families worshipped at St. Albans Church.
During the Civil War, Isadore Homiller Causten’s husband had the distinction of being one of the first Union prisoners of war, and Lavinia Homiller Cross’s husband was under strong suspicion of having been complicit in his capture.
In 1864, Charles Homiller bought 160 acres in Seneca from Lavinia and Benjamin J. Cross. Whether Cross’s suspected betrayal of his brother-in-law figured in this turn of events, or whether this was just a way for Homiller to support his daughter, can only be guessed. In 1870 Cross was still farming in Seneca, but his father-in-law owned the farm. (Montgomery County deed, October 5, 1864)
The 1870 census of Montgomery County shows Benjamin Cross (41), farmer, now worth 0 in real estate, and only $1,000 in personal worth; his wife Lavinia, and children Charles Y. (12), Marion (10), and Henry (2).
Slaves of Charles Homiller Emancipated in 1862
(See also Emancipation on Georgetown Heights.)
Name and Age (Head of Household, bold)
Etchison, Laura 1 Etchison, Banks 2/12 Etchison, Adelaide 11 Etchison, Dallas 20 Etchison, Kingsla 22 Etchison, Mary 38 Gage, Hanson 3 Gage, Harriet 5 Gage, Franklin 7 Gage, Eliza 26 Hawkins, Abraham L. 1 Hawkins, George 3 Hawkins, Virginia 10 Hawkins, James 11 Hawkins, Fanny 45 Hutchins, Mary Ann 26 Jackson, Kate 17
Charles Homiller welcomed Union troops, and entertained Union officers of the Signal Camp of Instruction.
(B.F. Fisher Correspondence, Carlisle Military History Institute; J. Willard Brown. The Signal Corps, USA, 1861-1865; and George C. Rounds, Star “Rambler” column, January 5, 1913)
The 1863 Directory of Washington shows a cattle-yard operated by the firm of Homiller & Sheiry, on North Capitol Street, between L and M. This may be the only remaining evidence of wartime contracts secured by the family.
1865 Georgetown Assessments:
Lot 266, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown, with a frame mansion, a small frame tenement, a slaughterhouse, and a stable on it.
Lot 297, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown,
Part of lot 267, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown; the other part belonged to Jacob Homiller.
1870 census of Georgetown, p.505:
Charles Homiller was wealthy, with 5 black domestics
Lot 265, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown
Lot 266, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown, $6000 house, 415 High Street
Lot 267, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown
Lot 297, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown, stables and sheds
Lot 300, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown, $100 shack.
After the Civil War Homiller began to improve the road called Back Street, which divided his property from that of Benjamin F. Hunt, who owned the property that is now the Russian embassy. (Georgetown Courier, March 13 and 20, 1869; Georgetown Ordinances, March, 1869)
Homiller’s road-building project seems to have been the source of the fill subsequently used in raising street levels in other parts of the city. “Earth from Red Hill [was] laid down in various Georgetown streets.” (Georgetown Courier, August 13, 1870, February 18, 1871)
In 1879 a jury of local freeholders were summoned to condemn a street in Georgetown “to be known as Tunlaw Street, connecting Back Street to High, to make an outlet for the new Tunlaw Road, which is to be located where there is a narrow lane adjoining the Homiller estate”. The jurors included Messrs. Barnes, Weaver, Kengla, and Voight––but not Homiller and Hunt, whose interests had conflicted a decade earlier. (“District Affairs”, Star, August 8, 1879; National Republican, August 16, 1879)
The short connection between Back and High Street that was being renamed Tunlaw Street had been called Homiller’s Lane, and was a little south of the block of Calvert Street between Tunlaw Road and Wisconsin Avenue. As sometimes happens, the old designation was not entirely replaced by the new one––Homiller Road appears in 1908 assessments––and in the years before 1930 the name Schneider’s––or Snyder’s––Lane seems to have been used interchangeably with Tunlaw Street.
At the western end of Tunlaw Street, a left turn put you on Back Street; a right turn put you on the new Tunlaw Road, by which you could trace the division between Charles Homiller’s property, and that of Benjamin F. Hunt, cross the small stream at 3850 Tunlaw, turn north toward the road’s namesake, Tunlaw Farm––now Wesley Heights––and so reach what is now Nebraska Avenue.
(See Origins of Tunlaw Road.)
Sale of the Ramsburg estate, a brick dwelling at High and 2nd street, to Mrs. Catherine Homiller, for $3800. (Star June 13, 1874)
1879 map shows property in Seneca. Maryland
1888 DC will mentions a son, Thomas Clayton Homiller; and a daughter, Sue B. Ker.
Catherine Homiller, born 1820, buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, March 1, 1887; she died of injuries from a fire. (Rockville Sentinel, March 4, 1887)
Charles Homiller buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, July 16, 1888.
Jacob H. Homiller (1817-1887), Third Son of Michael Homiller
Born District of Columbia, butcher
1858: 411 High Street
1871 assessment: part of lot 267, Beatty & Hawkins Addition to Georgetown, with an $800 house (379 High Street). This house was possibly sold to him by Henry Kengla (DC Liber RMH11 (1866) f.134).
1880 census, one black employee, Charles Minor, born Va., 1868
1883 to 1888, Jacob H. Homiller, briefly owned the steamer Mary Washington (1874-1902) before selling it back to Ephraim Randall, his son-in-law.
In 1896, when 37th Street was extended to reach Wisconsin Avenue, Jacob H. Homiller’s house was right in its path.
In 1902 Elizabeth, widow of Jacob H. Homiller, lived at 2548 Wisconsin (now 2348?).
1908-9 Jacob H. and Elizabeth Homiller still owners of BH 266-7
1918 Assessment: square 1300, lot 267
Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson Homiller, 88.––Born circa 1825, daughter of John Wilson [1830 census], married Jacob Homiller, Georgetown merchant, circa 1848. She was born on Georgetown Heights circa 1825, a few doors from where she died. Her house, built circa 1848, was known as “The Hill”. During the Civil War, Mrs. Homiller gained fame for her kindness to Union soldiers. (Washington Times, November 2, 1913)
Like his brother William, but unlike his brother Charles, Jacob H. was Catholic.
Holy Rood Cemetery, Section 35, lot 316:
Jacob Homiller, 1817-1887
Elizabeth Homiller, died 1913
Jacob H. and Elizabeth Homiller had a daughter named Louise (1850-1918, buried Holy Rood) who married Ephraim Randall.
Randall lived at National Hotel, ran the river steamers of the Washington and Potomac Steamboat Company. Steamers: Harry Randall, Estelle Randall, St. Johns, Queen Anne, Arrowsmith. (Dorothy Troth Muir, Potomac Interlude, 1943)
Louisa and Ephraim Randall were very involved in Henry Kengla’s life. When Kengla died in 1903, Randall was his executor. Kengla’s will was contested; Ephriam Randall and his mother-in-law Elizabeth Homiller were accused by Kengla heirs of undue influence on the decedent. (Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, 11245, Washington Law Reporter, v.32)
Ephriam S. Randall was born in Canandaigua, N.Y., circa 1850. In 1861 he came to Washington with the Union volunteers, working for a sutler. In the 1880 census, Randall was the keeper of a billiard saloon at 1345 E Street NW, but by then Randall also owned an excursion steamer, the “Mary Washington”.
The steamer “John W. Thompson”, rebuilt and renamed, after the captain’s son, as the “Harry Randall”, carried freight and passengers on the Potomac River. One of the Washington and Potomac Steamboat Company’s largest steamers was the “Estelle Randall”, named after his daughter.
(“Capt. E.S. Randall Dead––Widely Known Steamboat Man Succumbs After Long Illness.––Was a Pioneer in River Passenger Service, Which He established 25 Years Ago, and Maintained”, Washington Post, April 18, 1908, p.2)
Michael H. Homiller, Grandson of Michael Homiller
Born 1839, son of Charles Homiller,
1860s: Vestry of St. Albans Church
1860 census, master butcher, household includes grandmother or great-aunt Eliza, born 1779.
Marched in Lincoln’s first inaugural with his neighbor Thomas Weaver, and was a marshal of the civil procession of Lincoln’s funeral procession! (National Intelligencer, April 18, 1865)
Appears in newspapers accounts of the “Ring Tournament”, acting as marshal of a benefit tournament. (Star, October 14, 1867)
From 1873-1893, the old house 122 Maryland Avenue NE (currently the Stewart Mott Foundation) was owned by Michael H. Homiller.
Died circa 1883
Armistead Homiller, Grandson of Michael Homiller
Born 1849, son of Charles Homiller
Butcher in 1871, 415 High Street
Appears in newspapers accounts of the “Ring Tournament”, acting as “Knight of Ivanhoe”. (Star, October 14, 1867)
A. Homiller, “Knight of the Villa” in tournament at College Villa (now McLean Gardens): picnic, tournament and dance for the benefit of the Catholic Church of Tenleytown. (Georgetown Courier, October 10, 1868)
Buried Oak Hill Cemetery, September 13, 1881, 32 years old.
Thomas Clayton Homiller, Grandson of Michael Homiller
Born 1849, son of Charles Homiller
Married Jenyer Odette in Chicago, 1873
In 1871 he owned property on High Street, but by 1890 lived at 1318 34th St NW.
Holy Rood Cemetery, Section 43, lot 433, bought by (Thomas) Clayton Homiller of Tenleytown Road in 1888.
Two children of Thomas and Jenyer were buried by Joseph Birch at Holy Rood, March 8 and 10, 1888, probably these:
Lewis J. Homiller
As late as 1902 there were still Homillers in the neighborhood: brothers Thomas C. Homiller, Jr., navy stenographer, and Maurice Homiller, laborer, at 2552 (now 2252?) Wisconsin Avenue.
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