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Timeline of the Owners and Tenants

 

One of the unique aspects of Decatur House’s history is the number of residents who made this Lafayette Square their home between 1819 and 1956. The original owners, Stephen and Susan Decatur only enjoyed their new house for fourteen short months – a duel that cut short the life of the naval hero, also cut short his wife’s tenancy in the home. Thus began nearly a half-century of revolving tenants and owners – it was not until 1872, the beginning of the Beale occupancy, that a single family occupied the house for a significant period of time.

Though it was the names of the illustrious that most often appeared on the deed or the lease, Decatur House was also occupied by an untold number of servants – including the enslaved. Ongoing research continues to uncover information about these often nameless residents of Decatur House – and known information is included with the biographies residents listed below.

 

1819-1820

Stephen and Susan Decatur, United States Naval Commissioner and his wife

 

1820-1822

Baron and Baroness Hyde de Neuville, French Minister to the United States and his wife

 

1822-1827

Baron de Tuyll, Russian Minister to the United States

 

1827-1829

Henry Clay, Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams

 

1829-1831

Martin Van Buren, Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson

 

1831-1833

Edward Livingston, Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson

 

1834-1835

Sir Charles Vaughn, British Minister to the United States

 

1836-1844

John and Providence Gadsby, Hotel and Tavern Owner and his wife

 

1844-1861

Providence Gadsby, Widow of John Gadsby

 

1845-1849

George M. Dallas, Vice President of the United States

 

1849-1850

Joseph Gales, Publisher and Editor

 

1850-1851

John A. King and James G. King, New York Representative, U.S. Congress and New Jersey Representative, U.S. Congress

 

1851-1857

William Appleton, Massachusetts Representative, U.S. Congress

 

1858-1859

James Orr, South Carolina Representative, U.S. Congress

 

1859-1861

Judah Benjamin, Louisiana Senator, U.S. Congress

 

1861-1872

John H. McBlair, Agent for heirs of John Gadsby

 

1861-1865

United States Army, Bureau of Subsistence, Quartermaster General

 

1872-1893

Edward F. Beale and Mary Beale, Frontiersman, Entrepreneur, Ambassador and his wife

 

1893-1903

Mary Beale, Widow of Edward Beale, daughter of Samuel Edwards, Pennsylvania Congressman 1785 -1850

 

1903-1938

Truxtun Beale and Marie Beale, Ambassador to Persia, Greece, Romania, Serbia and his wife

 

1938-1956

Marie Beale, Socialite, author, and preservationist

 

1956-2009

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The nation’s largest preservation organization

 

2010

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Historical Association establish the National Center for White House History at Decatur House.