Lingan Street, Georgetown, Washington D.C.

Daniel and Catherine Hegarty Kane owned houses at 1419, 1421 and 1423 36th Street, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., among the other houses they owned in Georgetown and Washington, D.C.

36th Street, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. was prior known as Lingan Street, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. and prior to that it was known as Gay Street, Georgetown, (Washington D.C.)

Maps of Georgetown show the following:
36th Street, Georgetown, was originally listed as the following on these year maps:
year 1796 map – 36th Street is listed as Gay Street
year 1820 map – 36th Street is listed as Gay Street
year 1830 map – 36th Street is listed as Lingan Street

Gen James Maccubbin Lingan
Gen James Maccubbin Lingan; image courtesy – Library of Congress;

The street name of Lingan Street, Georgetown, is a distinctive and unique name which drew our attention and raised our curiosity as to the possible reason for the naming of that street as “Lingan” Street. Believing it reasonable that “Lingan” may have referenced a family name, we began a search for the surname of “Lingan” in Georgetown prior to the year 1830. Our research quickly settled on a Revolutionary War hero by name of James Maccubbin Lingan (his middle name is also spelled as Mccubbin / McCubbin) who we believe Lingan Street is the namesake of.

The following is an excerpt about James Maccubbin Lingan as listed in:

“PROSPECT HOUSE”, pages 470-473; Library of Congress;

Prospect House, Georgetown, Washington D.C.
Prospect House, Georgetown, Washington D.C.; image courtesy – Library of Congress;

In November of 1788 the Revolutionary War hero , General James Maccubbin Lingan, bought the original site of Prospect House (Lots 30 and 31 in Peter, Beatty, Threlkeld and Deakins Addition to Georgetown) from William Deakins, Jr. for the sum of 250 pounds “current money.” In 1793 the General sold the property “… together with all the Houses, improvements, privileges and advantages thereto and thereon…” to John Templeman of Boston for 1450 pounds “current money.” It would seem safe to assume, considering the sizable difference in price (1200 pounds) over a period of only five years, that it was General Lingan who built Prospect House sometime between 1788 and 1793. It is also interesting to note that nearby 36th Street was once called Lingan Street.

James Maccubbin Lingan was born May 31, 1751 in Frederick County, Maryland, the second son of Dr. Lingan, and through his mother, he was related to the famous Carroll family of Maryland. He arrived in Georgetown as quite a young man and immediately entered a tobacco warehouse business owned by a relative.

In 1776 he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental Army. He was wounded by a Hessian bayonet in the Battle of Long Island, captured by the British at Fort Washington on November 16, 1776, and taken aboard the Jersey, an infamous prison ship, commonly called the “Hell.” Although friends and relatives close to the English court urged Lingan, while he was a prisoner, to give his allegiance to the King, he retained his intense devotion to the Revolutionary cause.

At the conclusion of the war Lingan, now a general, returned to Georgetown where he became a prominant merchant and a most distinguished member of local society. He heavily invested in land in various parts of Georgetown and in what later became known as the city of Washington. In an offer to President Washington, dated October 13, 1790, a number of Georgetown’s leading citizens, Lingan among them, agreed “…to sell on such terms as the President may determine to be reasonable, any of the lands owned by them in the vicinity of Georgetown.” On October 1, 1790 President Washington appointed Lingan Collector of the Port of Georgetown. He was also one of Georgetown’s aldermen; one of the first incorporators of the Bank of Columbia ; an incorporator of the Georgetown Mutual Insurance Company; and a member of the committee delegated to prepare and present an address of welcome to President John Adams in 1800. In 1801 President Adams appointed Lingan a U.S. Marshal.

In later years he moved from Georgetown to the “Federal City,” building a house on what is now 19th Street, N.W., between M and N Streets. He had a handsome wife and children. ( Mrs. Lingan was formerly Janet Henderson, daughter of Richard and Sarah Henderson of Spring Mill, Montgomery County, Maryland.) He also had many friends and was prospering in business. All appeared to be going well for the illustrious veteran until the election year of 1812. The General was a staunch Federalist; he held a part interest in The Federal Republican, a newspaper in which strong opposition to President Madison’s war policy was expressed. It was in defense of the newspaper and “…the rights of person and property and the liberty of the press…” that he met his violent, brutal death. When the paper carried an anti-war editorial, the day after war with England was declared (June 19, 1812), an angry mob destroyed the building in Baltimore where the paper was printed. The newspaper staff fled to Georgetown where they continued publication. The next month General Lingan and others, including John Howard Payne and General Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee, returned to Baltimore where publication was resumed. They were attacked by angry mobs. The embattled group of old patriots found refuge with civil authorities who offered them the protection of the jail overnight.

The building was invaded and General Lingan was stoned to death in the bloody fracas. The frenzied mob chanted “Tory! Tory!” as the General defiantly ripped open his shirt displaying “the scar of the Hessian bayonet” and shouted, “Does this look as if I was a traitor?”

James McCubbin Lingan headstone
James McCubbin Lingan headstone – photo courtesy Maryland State Archives

The General’s body was buried secretly, a condition exacted by the ringleaders before surrendering it. Never the less, on September 1, 1812, a little more than a month after his death (July 28, 1812), he was honored by a stately funeral, which was considered something of an historical event in Georgetown. Despite an order that no Army officers were to attend, the funeral cortege was escorted by Major George Peter’s troop of horses and Captain William Beverley Randolph marched at the head of his company in procession to Parrott’s Woods, now known as Oak Hill Cemetery. General George Washington’s tent was erected for the benefit of the four clergymen and other dignitaries, and George Washington Parke Custis of Arlington delivered the oration. “Light Horse Harry” Lee, whose skull had been fractured at the time General Lingan was killed, was too ill to be present at the funeral and never fully recovered from his wounds. From the harbor could be heard the “booming of the guns from a new ship, owned by Washington Bowie, a Georgetown merchant [and an occupant of Prospect House], and named the ‘General Lingan.’

“The General’s body was finally interred on the grounds of his farm, “Harlem,” near Foxhall Road. Almost a century later , on November 5, 1908, his remains were removed to Arlington National Cemetery where the grave was given a D.A.R. marker.