Title: Petition of S. A. Elliott, 29 April 1862

Date: April 29 1862

Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 2. The original document is held in the Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, 1775–1978, National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 217.6.5. Within the National Archives' Archival Description Catalog, see ARC Identifier 4644616 / MLR Number A1 347 (http://arcweb.archives.gov).

Civil War Washington ID: cww.00003

TEI/XML: cww.00003.xml


To the Honorable S. F. Vinton, Daniel R. Goodloe, and Horatio King, Commissioners under the Act of Congress of the 16th April, 1862.

The petition of S. A. Elliott, of the City and County of Washington, respectfully represents, That in view of different instructions placed upon portions of the Act approved April 16, 1862, while he claims right of service under pre-existing law, he deems it both respectful to the Board and in justice to himself to submit a statement or petition; leaving to the Commissioners their own prerogative of viewing the case presented as one the principle and obligations under a contract relating to a minor, a child of slave parents in Maryland, or of a claim properly coming under their jurisdiction.

That on or about the middle of March, 1861, at the desire of Mrs. Plummer, femme covert, and wife of, and at the selection of Edward S. Plummer, then residing in the Dist. of Col.a he the said Elliott hired a little servant girl, aged about 10 years, of said Plummer, by the name of Ginnie McPherson at the rate of $20 per annum which was advanced and paid to the sister of said Plummer, and at his request in account of money   due her by the brother or for services to be rendered his family by said sister

That said Elliott was to find proper clothing for said Ginnie.

That subsequently said Elliott was called on by said Plummer, accompanied by his wife's brother, and complained that he could not realize money upon certain promissory notes, and in behalf of the interest of his family, proposed raising money upon said hired girl;

That failing in negotiating the notes held by him, he called again on said Elliott and at his request presents the instrument, of which the following is his copy, viz.

Washington City, D.C. March 15,1861. "I, Edward S. Plummer, a citizen of Maryland, have this day sold to Seth A. Elliott, a citizen of Washington, D.C. a negro girl by name Ginnie McPherson—a slave for life, in consideration of three hundred dollars in hand paid. The conditions of the above bill of sale is this, That having this day received of S. A. Elliott, three hundred dollars, said Elliott grants me the privilege of regaining possession of said servant girl within a period


Known personally to
Thom. W. Vinton x &
" W. Visig, x

not knowing whether such a case as the within, will come within any of the forms, prints, or otherwise, that may be established. I respectfully leave it as, possibly, the facts stated may be suggestive while guarding wife was readily [illegible] not [illegible], at first to purchase such property [illegible] not get money for certain notes [illegible]Elliott


of eighteen months from this day, by paying to said Elliott the aforesaid sum of three hundred dollars with interest from this day, but the said Ginnie is to remain in possession of said Elliott until the first day of January (1864) eighteen hundred and sixty-four upon the payment to me or my heirs this sum of twenty-five dollars per annum—commencing from the first of January, 1862. Given under my hand and seal this 15th day of April, 1861

(signed) "E. S. Plummer seal"
"Jos. Taylor."x

Thus it is seen that in addition to $20 advanced $300 was also paid. By the above instrument it is seen that prior to 15th Oct. 1862 (i.e. within 18 mos. from 1st April, 1861) the possession of said Ginnie might be regained on payment to said Elliott of $300 with interest from 15th of April, 1861; That there is now no reasonable prospect of said Plummer availing himself of such privilege, as he is one of both the District & State, to the best of said Elliott's knowledge and belief, and his family or representatives   have not hitherto offered re-imbursement​. That it is true said Ginnie was to remain in possession of said Elliott until the first of January, 1864 upon the payment to him the said Plummer or his heirs the sum of $25 per annum, commencing from the 1st of January, 1862 Thus indicating a supposed value of $370. The servant girl, Ginnie, is of a dark brown complexion, of good disposition, good constitution, and uniformly cheerful.

That in view of the legislation of April, 1862, in Congress in regard to all persons held to labor in the District of Columbia, whether minors etc. under guardianship or direction, it has been decreed advisable to present this as a present or as a contingent claim, affected by circumstances occurring since the date of the [instrument enclosed?] and which may be affected by some amendatory Act if it be not viewed by the Commissioners, as coming within that scope of the Constitution relating to [contracts?]—a contract for labor to be entered in fashion, by a senior, and made prior to existing laws.

That said Elliott's allegiance to the Government of the United States is of record, oaths having hitherto been administered to him by a public magistrate; and further, and up to the present writing said Elliott "now 45 years of age" has not borne arms against the United States during the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort to the enemy thereof or in and of said rebellion.

Respectfully submitted

S. A. Elliott 29 April, 1862

On this twenty ninth day of April 1862, personally appeared the subscriber to the above [instrument?] & petition to be; and signed to these statements herein made to the best of his knowledge & belief.

James Lawrenson J.P. seal
Petition of S. A. Elliott
Filed 29th April 1862
Transcription and encoding: Elizabeth Lorang, Kenneth M. Price, Janel Cayer, Adam Minakowski, and Robert Voss.