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In 1802, Congress granted the citizenry of the District of Columbia limited local government and James Hoban served on the twelve-member city council for the next two decades, except for the years during which he was rebuilding the White House.

Founder of Grand Lodge Number One of the Masonic Order, captain of a local militia company, a city councilman, and successful real estate developer, Hoban also initiated a private fund to employ schoolteachers, raise a volunteer fire brigade, and assist Irish construction workers in need.

According to Hoban family lore, James Hoban Jr. (1808-46), was the "spitting image" of his father. He was the district attorney of the District of Columbia at the time of his death.

Lithograph after an 1844 daguerreotype. Architect of the Capitol

Marian Blackwell French Hoban, wife of James Hoban Jr., by painter Thomas Sully, 1844.

South Carolina Historical Society

In 1799, James Hoban married Susana Sewall, daughter of Clement Sewall, a Revolutionary War veteran and landholder of St. Mary's County, Maryland. With Susana he raised a family of ten children. Clement died in infancy, and his teenage daughters Helen and Catherine and wife Susana all died within the year of 1822-23. Edward and Francis became officers in the United States Navy, Henry a Jesuit priest, and James Jr. a noted orator and a respected attorney.

A page from the church's registry documents the marriage of James Hoban to Susana Sewall on January 12, 1799.

Holy Trinity Church Archives

The Hoban residence, razed in 1880, was located east of Rhodes Tavern on the north side of F Street between 14th and 15th Streets. This artist's 1874 watercolor depicts the rear of the house on a cold wintry day.

Library of Congress

At the center of Hoban's neighborhood was Rhodes Tavern, demolished by a developer in 1984, that stood at 15th and F Streets and was the scene of the meetings Hoban attended relating to militia, political, civic, and charitable organizations. Baroness Hyde de Neuville, 1820.

New York Public Library

James Hoban died in 1831, leaving a substantial estate of both city and farm property and assets worth more than $60,000 (approximately $1.4 million in 2006). Hoban signed a petition for the emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia and stipulated in his will that his urban slaves were to be sold in the District of Columbia to prevent their relocation to plantations.

Obituary notice of James Hoban, National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.), December 9, 1831.

Richard Napoli

Initially buried at Saint Patrick's, James Hobans remains, with those of other family members, were reinterred in 1863 at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

White House Historical Association

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