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Dunnock Johnson Family ~ Dorchester & Washington DC

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On the Potomac


The Lyceum, 201 Washington Street, as seen during the War Between the States. It was the home of Dr. Hugh Holmes McGuire and his wife Sarah Johnson McGuire.

Dr. Hugh McGuire, 2nd son of famous Virginia doctor Hunter McGuire, married Sarah Johnson. She was a grandchild of Alward and niece of our Capt CW Johnson. Thus the child of Hugh and Sarah, one Johnson McGuire, was the cousin of my mother, Jane.

My mother Jane always said this building was the home of a cousin. I had never known what the connection was until recently.

For two decades before the Civil War, The Lyceum was the intellectual and cultural center of Alexandria, but the war interrupted its educational activities. Like most of the other large structures in town, the building was seized in the spring of 1861 for use as a hospital by the Union Army. In 1868, The Lyceum was sold to John B. Daingerfield and remodeled into a fashionable residence for his daughter, Mary Helen. After the death of its last residential owner, Dr. Hugh McGuire, in 1938, the building was sold again and became an office building. By the late 1960s, the once elegant Lyceum had become a run-down eyesore and plans were underway to demolish it. A major effort was mounted by Jean Keith and other local preservationists to save the structure, capped by a dramatic 4-3 vote in favor of purchase by Alexandria's City Council in 1969. Renovated and refurnished, The Lyceum re-opened as Virginia's first Bicentennial Center in 1974 and became the City's history museum in 1985.

Today The Lyceum is owned and operated by the City of Alexandria and has returned to nearly the same role for which it was constructed - serving the community as a center for historical education and cultural activities.

Our Edna was on the Board of Lady Managers of the Alexandria Hospital and Hugh (her 1st cousin by marriage) was head of the Hospital) - what a small town.

For another Alexandria connection, see Sarah's Story. Through the Woolford's, the Johnsons were cousins to the long line of Mayor's of Alexandria from the Smoot family.

And the Johnson Wimsatt Lumber Yard still operates today in Alexandria, the name continued even if not a direct family connection today.  Sarah Johnson McGuire was a daughter of Anne Wimsatt Johnson and E. Kurtz Johnson.