Cassandra Chew

Quick Facts
Old Stone House Owner
Date of Birth:
Place of Death:
Georgetown, DC

Records on Cassandra Chew prior to her arrival in Georgetown in 1762 have been difficult to find, making her life before this time a mystery. Census records indicate she may have been born around 1729, but it is not clear where. When she arrives in Georgetown, she has her two daughters, Mary and Harriott, with her. Cassandra becomes involved with Robert Peter when she gets to Georgetown, thought the extent of their relationship is not clear. Robert Peter was a successful merchant and eventually became first mayor of Georgetown.


Acquiring Lot #3

With the help of Robert Peter, Cassandra was able to purchase lot #62 and by the time Christopher Layman bought Lot #3 in 1764, Lot #62 was listed as improved by Cassandra.

In June of 1767 a flurry of real estate deals are made. Rachel Layhman had been granted ownership of Lot #3 having completed a substantial stone structure on the property in 1766. This is believed to be the front portion of Old Stone House. On June 9, 1767 Cassandra trades Rachel Lot #62 and 100 pounds for Lot #3. Research indicates that 100 pounds equaled the wages for a skilled worker and an apprentice fo rthe term of one year. This money may have covered the remaining costs of construction that Rachel owed to the workers who built the house.

Cassandra Chew was now the owner of Lot #3 and the structure that would become Old Stone House. 

On June 10, 1767 Robert Peter gifts Cassandra Lot #29. Records indicate that this is where Cassandra lived with at least one of her daughters. Lot #29 was closer to the middle of town and appears to have a larger house built on it. Between 1767 and 1790 Cassandra made improvements to the stone structure on Lot #3 and may have had other structures built on the lot to be used as rental property. 

Living in Georgetown

The 1790 census only provides the name of the head of household and the age, gender and race of other people in the household. Cassandra is listed as head of household with one other white female residing with her. Considering Mary is listed as Head of Household at Old Stone House, the other white female is believed to be Harriott. Four enslaved persons are also listed as being owned by Cassandra.

Cassandra continues to be the owner of Lot #3 and leases out the space on it to several businessmen. Her daughter, Mary continued to live in the residential portion of Old Stone House during the late 1790s.

Landlady and Property Owner

In 1800, Cassandra rents the front shop space of the stone house to John Suter, Jr. A wooden building (built sometime before 1800 but not documented until then) was put up east of Old Stone house with a small alley between the two structures. In 1801, after Mary Chew Smith married Joseph Brumley a newspaper advertisement mentions “the Old Stone House next to Lot #2 as the place where ‘Mrs. Smith lately lived.”

Cassandra continued to rent the buildings out to businessmen in the early 1800s. A hatter leased the building next to the Old Stone House in 1804 while Cassandra’s grand-daughter and her family lived in the stone house.

On August 29th, 1808, Cassandra and her daughter Mary rent the Old Stone House to William Clark for a term of 10 years. Clark sets up a tailor business.

Cassandra remains the primary owner of Lot #3 for the remainder of her life. She is not listed on the census by name but appears as an older female living on Lot #29 with Harriott in the 1800 Census.

Sometime between 1808 and 1811, Cassandra Chew died. Georgetown lot #3 and the structures on it, including Old Stone House were inherited by Mary Chew Smith Brumley.

Rock Creek Park

Last updated: January 11, 2024