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Washerwoman buys valuable Dallas property


On this day in 1869, former slave Hope Thompson and her husband Isaac purchased a piece of property on Elm Street in what is now downtown Dallas. Thompson, a washerwoman, borrowed the purchase price of fifty dollars from banker William Henry Gaston and repaid the loan by doing Gaston's laundry. Isaac Thompson left his wife in 1872. During much of the next two decades, she was involved in a number of transactions and lawsuits involving the property, which rapidly increased in value, but succeeded in retaining title to it. In September 1885 her real estate was appraised at about $35,000, and in October 1886 the Cleveland Gazette reported her assets to be worth $30,000. Hope Thompson last appeared in the Dallas city directory in 1894-95.

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