What's in a Name?

We have been unable to determine definitively the origin of the street name "Caroline". Other nearby streets took their names from individuals prominent in local affairs. Corcoran Street got its name from William Wilson Corcoran, one of the founders of the Corcoran & Riggs Bank, the predecessor of the recently departed Riggs Bank. George Washington Riggs, the other founding partner in the Corcoran & Riggs Bank, gave his name to Riggs Street and Place. Wallach Place takes its name from Richard Wallach, the mayor of Washington during the Civil War.

Caroline was perhaps named for Diller Groff's mother. In the 1850 census we find Diller (listed as Dillie) age 10 in Manheim township, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Samuel Groff 35, a carpenter, and Caroline age 32, with younger siblings Sarah (6), Samuel (3) and Mary (6/12). All were born in Pennsylvania.

But there is another possibility: in 1879, Diller and wife Susan Groff had a daughter. She is listed as Mary C on the 1880 census, and in the Rock Creek Cemetery records. (She died 18 October 1888.) Perhaps she was Mary Caroline, and known in the family as Caroline.

[1]The Names of Washington, D.C. by Dex Nilsson, Twinbrook Communications, Rockville, Maryland, 1999, p. 47, and Richard Busch personal research.

[2]Greater U Street  by Paul K Williams, Arcadia Publishing 2002, page 14.

Last update 22 March 2012

Copyright Richard Busch, 1993, 2004-12
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