Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article on, “The Other History of Fishtown – Dogan Family”
Mrs. Betty Dogan Roberts Nicholas’ father, William S. Dogan II’s family has been in Alexandria since the 1700s. The Dogan were born free prior to the Civil War. They had businesses in Alexandria down at the wharf. They lived for many years in an African American neighborhood called Fishtown in Alexandria.
One of the Dogans had a restaurant and bar business down at the fish wharf before the civil war. With that type of business, he brought real estate in Alexandria. The properties with houses on it were rented out. This was a source of income for the family.
Unknown to the present generation, they were unaware that their family had been in the area for over 300 plus years. They contributed a lot to the history of Alexandria and they saw a lot of history made in Alexandria.
Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article, “If These Walls Could Talk – Roberts Chapel Methodist Church”.
It is remarkable to research an African American Church’s history that goes back beyond the Civil War. This old Alexandria’s Church has records in old ledge books. One can feel the texture of the old books and see the markings of the old ink quill pen that recorded members’ activities in Church. The near perfect penmanship that once was considered the penmanship of literary individuals is displayed throughout the Church’s ledge books.
In Alexandria, you will find one of the oldest African American’s Methodist Church that has been around since 1832. You will find this Church on Washington Street where the view of Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC) seems to be tucked behind shady trees that could slightly block your view at 606 South Washington Street. This Church congregation started at Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia prior to the 1830.
The free and enslaved African Americans left Trinity and started their own Church. The Church records of Roberts Memorial UMC speaks of the who’s who among African Americans in early days of Alexandria when the Church was known as Roberts Chapel. The Church has gone through several name changes from Davis Chapel to Roberts Chapel Methodist Church to its present name.