65. 3524 P Street

Photo by Andrena Crockett

Smackum Family

By 1860, the Smackum family had been living in Georgetown on Volta Place for two decades. The Smackums, et al, were instrumental in founding Epiphany Catholic Church in Georgetown in 1925 by people of color to address their spiritual and social needs while in service to their Higher Power. After worshiping for over 100 years at Holy Trinity Catholic Church where they were forced to sit in a gallery added to the choir loft, the African American parishioners had enough of the indignation and disrespect and decided to change their circumstances. With the support of other parishioners and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, James and Julia Smackum, became two of the original founders of Epiphany Catholic Church in Georgetown.

One can research the Smackum, Marshall and Hall families in Epiphany’s archives from the various registers of the Sacraments (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Death), and from the written history of Epiphany Church as descendant Laurice Redhead did. ​What is known is Julia and James Smackum were Cecilia Maria Smackum and Robert L. Hall’s grandchildren.

Maternal Ancestry:

  1. Mary E. Herd ​married​ John A. Marshall​; Daughter: ​Mary Agnes Marshall
  2. Mary Agnes Marshall ​married C​harles Adams Smackum​ June 11, 1868 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown; Daughter: ​Cecilia Maria Smackum
  3. Cecilia Maria Smackum married ​ Robert L. Hall​; Son: ​Earl B. Hall
  4. Earl B. Hall​ married ​Irene Veronica Colbert​. Irene is Cecilia Smackum’s daughter-in-law; Daughter: ​Rosa Cecilia Hall
  5. Rosa Cecilia Hall​ Gadson/Diggs: married Lawrence Ellsworth Gadson Deceased (James M. Diggs Stepfather) Deceased; Daughters: ​Laurice Gadson (Redhead), Mrs. Essie Orekoya, Miss Rosa Gadson (Still born), Mrs. Suzanne Smith, Mrs. Irene Monroe
  6. Laurice Gadson​ married ​Ashley L. Redhead, I;Children: Laura Redhead (Still born), Ashley L. Redhead, II, Maurice M. Redhead

After living in several Georgetown residences, as recorded in his death certificate, Charles Smackum passed away at 3524 P Street and was laid to rest in Lot 373.0 in Holy Rood, East Part, West Section, page 274. Cemetery.​ ​ Both Charles and Mary Agnes were buried in Holy Rood Cemetery.

Charles A. Smackum also resided at 3512 P Street and 1414 36th Street in 1897. In 1905, a Charles Smackum lived at 1251 37th Street. Many District of Columbia directories list the Smackums living in Georgetown in 1879, 1883, 1897, 1901, and 1905. Frank and James at 3616 P Street; in 1901, Annie, Hillery [sic] and Irene at 3626 P Street; Arthur at 3524 P Street; Mary at 3112 N Street, Stanton at 36th and O; John at Georgetown University; Lucretia at 1721 34th Street; Walter, William, Eugene, and Harry at 3524 P Street; William also at 1434 36th Street; Florence and Adam at P and 35th Street; Hillary [sic] again at 3618 P Street; Lucy at 1721 34th Street; John P at 3310 (illegible) Q Street; Agnes at 3524 P Street; James A at 2462 P Street and James at 2805 O Street; Mary E at 2462 P Street; Staton at 3728 Prospect, Walter at 2707 Dumbarton.

Grandma Irene (as she was fondly called) graduated from the famed M Street School in 1915. In 1916, it was renamed Dunbar High School. She followed the traditional Dunbar path to Miner Normal School, which was later renamed Miner Teachers’ College.

Finally, a bit of family “folklore!” For years it has been rumored in the family, Charles Adams Smackum was somehow related to US President John Quincy Adams. Fact, fiction, or just a very long-standing “folklore!” Only continued research can verify the truth.

(Source: Black Georgetown Remembered and The Smackum Family)