NE Quadrant, Capitol Hill, African American, Federal Government Employees

John Henry Paynter
(1862 – 1947)

322 A St. NE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.

A poet and nonfiction author, Paynter is best known for Fugitives of the Pearl (1930), a history of an unsuccessful slave escape from DC (and the largest known mass escape attempt in the US).  Paynter was a direct descendant of two of the Pearl fugitives. His other books are Joining the Navy: Or, Abroad with Uncle Sam (1895), Fifty Years After (1940), and Horse and Buggy Days with Uncle Sam (1943).

Paynter served in the US Navy and worked as a clerk at the US Treasury.  He lived at this address in the early 1900s, then moved to the Deanwood neighborhood.  He served as Board chair for the Universal Land Company, which created a popular amusement park for African Americans in Deanwood called Suburban Gardens (now the site of Merritt Elementary School).