Mary Chew Smith Brumley

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

Mary Chew was born around 1750. There is no indication of who her father might be. Mary moved to Georgetown with her mother and sister, Harriott, around 1762. Several pieces of land in Georgetown were purchased for or gifted to Mary and her sister Harriott. They are often listed as co-owners of the lots throughout their childhoods.

Mary married Richard Smith in 1776. Records indicate that over the next eleven years they had seven children. In 1787, Richard died, leaving Mary to pay his debts and care for their children. Mary sold most of Richard’s property—including enslaved persons. Robert Peter, a family friend, purchased several of the enslaved people and held them in trust for her. He also absolved her of all debts owed to him. Mary moved her family into the home owned by her mother on Lot #3. She is listed as head of household and living with six of her seven children—the youngest, Clement, may have passed away before or shortly after Richard.

Mary lived in Georgetown in what is now called Old Stone House for the next ten years. Over the course of this time period, Robert Peter helped to ensure both Harriott and Mary would be comfortable after their mother’s death. He saw to it that Mary would inherit all of Lot #3 while Harriott would inherit a different lot in entirety. Mary’s mother still owned Lot #3 and was using parts of the property to earn money by renting buildings or shop spaces out. Documents indicate that Cassandra rented the first floor shop space to John Suter, Jr. for his use as a clock shop in the 1800s while Mary continued to live upstairs in the residential portion of the house.

It is through Suter's watch shop business that Mary may have met her second husband, Joseph Brumley. Joseph was a cabinet maker. Documentation indicates that he was making the tall cases that John Suter, Jr’s clocks were placed in. It is also around this time that Mary’s eldest daughter Barbara met and married John Suter, Jr.

After Mary and Joseph were married, they moved off the lot and Barbara and John moved into Old Stone House for a time. Mary inherited Lot #3 when Cassandra died in 1808. As her mother had done, Mary used the property at lot #3 to earn money and leased it out to a series of other people until her death in 1825 or 1826.

Lot #3 was an important part of Mary’s will and was divided as follows: ½ to her daughter, Harriott Smith,  ¼ to her daughter, Cassandra Chew McKenzie, ¼ to her granddaughters Sarah Maria and Ann Suter.

Cassandra McKenzie gave her 1/4 share of the lot to Sarah Maria in 1835. She and Harriott split the earnings from the lot 50/50 for the next fifty years.

In 1875 Richard Marcey and Calvin Payne purchase Lot #3. For the first time in over 100 years it was not owned by women or by a descendent of Cassandra Chew.

Rock Creek Park

Last updated: January 11, 2024