756 Rock Creek Church Road: Some Interesting History
Should you find yourself standing in front of 756 Rock Creek Church Road it is a very unassuming structure located near the Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro station. It is in the first row of homes constructed by Kennedy Brothers on the old Cammack estate in 1910.
What makes the site of note is its first residents, Mr. George G. Seibold and his wife Grace Darling Seibold. While George was a linotype operator and proofreader of the Evening Star, it was Grace who brings the most interest to this Park View address – in not one but two ways.
During World War I, the Seibold’s son, George, joined the action as an aviator with the rank of First Lieutenant. When letters from George stopped arriving, Grace was unable to find out anything about his whereabouts. Not knowing he had been killed in France, she began visiting area hospitals hoping George had been wounded and returned home.
Through this experience, and in getting to know other mothers who had lost a child, Grace organized a group consisting solely of these mothers with the purpose of not only comforting each other, but giving loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home.
In this way Grace Seibold organized and became the first president of American Gold Star Mothers. You can read more about this here>>
The other brush with history comes from Grace’s father, General Edward Whitaker. Gen. Whitaker was chief of staff to Gen. George A. Custer during the Civil War. As the Union and Confederate forces met at Appomattox Court House, Gen. Whitaker was sent out to receive the truce when it was offered by a member of Gen. Longstreet’s staff at Gen. Lee’s request.
After the surrender, Gen. Whitaker found that he had possession of the white towel that had been used for the flag of truce. After cutting off a piece for himself, he gave the towel to Gen. Custer who later presented it to his wife. You can read Gen. Whitaker’s 1896 account of the surrender and the white towel here>>
Mrs. Custer donated the towel to the Smithsonian Institution in 1936, minus the section of towel that Gen. Whitaker had removed. Gen. Whitaker’s section of towel was at that time neatly framed and hanging in his daughters house at 756 Rock Creek Church Road. You can see the towel Mrs. Custer donated here>>
Grace Seibold died in 1947 and George moved in with a daughter in Roanoke, Va., sometime after. George lived until 1955. Both are buried in Rock Creek Church Cemetery.Explore posts in the same categories: History, People comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.