Title: Petition of John Downes, 9 May 1862
Date: May 9, 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.00118
To the Commissioners under the act of Congress approved the 16th of April, 1862, entitled "An act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia."
Washington City, DC
by this his petition in writing, represents
and states, that he is a person loyal to the
United States, who, at the time of the passage of the said act of Congress, held
a claim to service or labor against two Coloured
persons of African descent of the name of
Sarah Brown and Rachael Brown
for and during the life of said
Sarah and Rachael
and that by said act of Congress said
Sarah and Rachael are
discharged and freed of and from all claim of your petitioner to such service or
labor; that at the time of said discharge said
Sarah and Rachael were of
the age s
as follows, Sarah about fourteen Years and of the
personal description following:(1)
Light Mulatto or Copper Colour Stout and healthy and Rachael aged about
Eleven Years, stout of her age and healthy.
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the
aforesaid service or labor of said
Sarah and Rachael
in manner following:(2)
by inheritance from his father's Estate
(Zachariah Downs) Montgomery Co. State
of Md, I having obtained their Grandmother as aforesaid and
their Mother and Said Girls all
both Being Born and Raised in my
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Coloured Girls was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of fourteen hundred dollars in money.(3) Being Seven hundred dollars Each they Being Stout healthy and able to do House Work and the oldest one Washing and Ironing and to the Best of my Knowledge and Belief they having no moral defect
Your petitioner hereby declares that he bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto.
And your petitioner further states and alleges, that he has not brought said Coloured Girls into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Coloured Girls held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor.
Your petitioner further states and alleges, that his said claim to the service or labor of said Coloured Girls does not originate in or by virtue of any transfer heretofore made by any person who has in any manner aided or sustained the present rebellion against the Government of the United States.
And your petitioner prays the said Commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of his said claim to the service or labor of said Coloured Girls herein above set forth; and if the same be found to be valid, that they appraise and apportion the value of said claim in money, and report the same to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, in conformity to the provisions of said act of Congress.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, John Downes being duly sworn, do depose and say, that all the several matters and things which are set forth and stated in the foregoing petition, as of my own knowledge, are true in substance and in fact; and that all the several other matters and things therein set forth and stated, as from the information of others, I believe to be true in substance and in fact.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this Eighth day of May A.D. 1862
Thomas C. Donn
Justice of the Peace for Washington County District of Columbia
Note (2.)-- Here state how the claim was acquired, when, from whom, and for what price or consideration; and, if held under any written evidence of title, make exhibit thereof, or refer to the public record where the same may be found.
Note (3.)-- Here state such facts, if any there be, touching the value of the petitioner's claim to the service or labor of the person, as may enhance the same, and also such facts, if any, touching the moral, mental, and bodily infirmities or defects of said person, as impair the value of the petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and conclude such statement with an averment that the petitioner knows of no other infirmities or defects of said person which impair the value of petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and that he believes none other to exist. If the petitioner specify no such infirmity or defect, then his statement touching the value of his claim should conclude with an averment that he has no knowledge of any such infirmity or defect.