Conrad Schwarz


In Holy Rood Cemetery, near the southwest corner, is a small, barely-legible limestone marker.


To the memory of



who died at an advanced age,

January 19, 1863


Private Conrad Schwarz, District of Columbia Militia, War of 1812 (section 9; Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

Conrad Schwarz, Holy Rood Cemetery (section 9; photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)



Conrad Schwarz was born about 1785, in Bavaria. He received training as a stipple engraver in Amsterdam and Baltimore. Several portraits by Schwarz in this medium were published in Baltimore by Fielding Lucas, Jr. (Reps, Washington on View, p. 53).

Reps also says Schwarz probably moved to Washington by 1817, but there are deeds and militia service that show he was here earlier:

Conrad Schwartz and Phillip Mauro, both of the city of Washington, from William Dorsey of Baltimore County, for $833, lot 7 square 349, Washington City (DC Liber AB27 (1811-2) f.223/181)

Conrad Schwartz, of Washington City, et al from John Murdock,

lot 4 in square 292; $1180 (DC Liber AC28 (1812) f.257/188; for later sale, see DC Liber AI34 (1815) 151-2/173-4).

Conrad Schwarz is on an 1813 DC militia list, Capt. Briscoe’s Company, 1st Legion, DC militia (Hine’s Recollections) and again in 1814 (Proctor, p. 285). It is possible that Schwarz served during British invasion.

Schwarz filed naturalization papers in 1818.

This day is published, by W. Cooper, a new & correct map of Wash City; drawn from actual survey by Robert King, city surveyor, & engraved by C. Schwarz. (Intelligencer, March 20, 1818)

Conrad Schwarz worked on the Robert King Map (1818), “the first  printed depiction of Washington that was both drawn and engraved in the city, for until this time Washington apparently had no craftsmen with the skills to produce such a print.” “Conrad Schwarz, who engraved King’s map, soon sought employment with the government rather than attempt to make a living as an independent engraver.” (Reps, Washington on View)

In 1821 Schwarz became a draftsman with the Navy Department, where he worked until 1846.

Bought Greenwood in 1824: $4200, mortgages land where Thomas Plater resided, now called Greenwood, part of Pretty Prospects, 35 acres, then gives Plater $5000. (DC Liber WB13 (1824-5) ff. 82/61, 87/64)

The funeral, and possibly the burial of Plater took place at Greenwood: Died: at his residence in Montgy Co, col Thos Plater. age 66, for a long time until a few yeatrs past, a resident of this district. Funeral will take place at Greenwood, his former residence, now Mr. Schwartz’s, just above Georgetown, this afternoon. (National Intelligencer, May 3, 1830)

Conrad Schwarz appears in the 1830 census, under 40, with one slave, under 24.

1834 Directory of Washington list, under employees of the Navy Department: Conrad Schwartz, draftsman, Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, salary $1000 per annum.


1840 census, lives alone in Washington County, no slave.

In 1842 Cornelius Barber sells part of Pretty Prospects to Schwartz (Liber WB96 ff.209/142).


1843 Directory of Washington list, under employees of the Navy Department: Conrad Schwartz, draftsman, Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, salary $1000 per annum.

1846, Retired from Navy Department.

1850 census, Washington County, p. 266: Schwarz appears to have retired to farming, but is a little more prosperous than other farmers, with land worth $10,000.



Conrad Schwarz’s Property in 1855

A woman and five children [i.e., Ellen Amelie Thomas and her children, Ann Eliza; Frances Elizabeth: Caroline Isabella; Louisa Alley and Susan Virginia], $1,000

84 acres, $8,400

houses, $1,500

horse, $100

cow, $15

(Assessments, January-February 1855, General Assessment Books for the County of Washington, 1855-1864 and 1868-1879, Entry 193, Record Group 351, Records of the Government of the District of Columbia, National Archives and Records Administration. Research by Tim Dennee and the Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery, “Enslaved Persons in the 1855-1862 Tax Assessments of Washington County, DC”.)



1860 census, 4th ward, p. 16: born Bavaria, retired, age 75, $15,000, seven slaves.

August 10, 1861, Union officers billeted with Conrad Schwartz. (Ann Forrest Green, James Nicholas Payne, The 1861 Diary of Ann (Forrest) Green of Rosedale, J.N. Payne, 1991, DAR Library)

Conrad Schwarz (his spelling), aged about 78, having no natural heir, placed his will in the hands of his physician, Dr. John M. Snyder, Sept 15, 1862. In it he devised his estate to Snyder, and asked only that provision be made to pay his former slave Ellen Amelia Thomas, emancipated by Congress in April, the compensation the United States owed him for her, and he willed her his household and kitchen furniture. (District of Columbia Wills, 1863, Box 31)

His other six slaves were all children of Ellen Amelia Thomas. Slaves were the only family life he had.

Schwarz is buried at Holy Rood Cemetery, near the SW corner. A small faded limestone marker in section 9, lot 56, in the south half purchased in 1864 c/o Mrs Dyer of 34th Street NW, for $25. (Trinity Church Death Register, p.114). His gravestone reads:


To the memory of



who died at an advanced age,

January 19, 1863




 Carlton Fletcher

 The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.

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The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.