Title: Petition of Catherine Pearson, 13 May 1862
Date: May 13, 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.00163
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."
Your Petitioner, Catharine Pearson, residing at Brentwood near Washington in the District of Columbia, by this her petition in writing represents and states that she 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 twenty one persons of African descent of the following names, viz: Edward Lee (Ned,) Nelly Mitchell, Mary Smith, James Dangerfield, Kitty Mitchell, Joseph Burnet, John Mitchell, Anthony Jefferson, Jenny Butler, William Butler, George Dover, Mary Shorter, Elizabeth Shorter, Thomas Shorter, Benjamin Shorter, Lewis Shorter, Henry Shorter, Sarah Shorter, Jacob Shorter, Andrew Shorter, and Frank Shorter, for and during the lives of said twenty one persons and that by said act of Congress said persons were discharged and freed of and from all claim of your petitioner to such service or labor: and that at the time of such discharge the said twenty one persons were respectively of the ages and personal descriptions following, to wit: Edward Lee was born in Washington in 1807 and is 55 years old, black and 5 ft. 10 in. high. Nelly Mitchell was born in Washington in 1816, is 46 years old, fat, 5 ft. 3 ½ in high and black; Mary Smith was born in Georgetown D. C. in 1838, is 24 years old, 5 ft. ½ in high and dark mulatto; James Dangerfield, infant son of Mary Smith, was born at Brentwood and is 6 months old; Kitty Mitchell, daughter of Nelly Mitchell, was born in Georgetown D. C. in 1841, is 21 years old, 5 ft 1 ½ in. high and light black; Joseph Burnet, infant son of Kitty Mitchell, was born at Brentwood in December 1861 and is four months old; John Mitchell son of Nelly Mitchell was born at Brentwood in 1842, is 20 years old, is quite tall being 5 ft. 11 ½ in. high and black; Anthony Jefferson, brother of Nelly Mitchell was born at Brentwood in 1835, is 27 years old; about 5 ft. 8 ins. slender, black. Jenny Butler was born in Georgetown D. C. in 1798, is 64 years old and very stout, black William Butler, son of Jenny Butler, was born at Brentwood in 1835, is 27 years old, a dark Mulatto, about 5 ft. 8 ins.: George Dover, was born at Brentwood in 1825, is 37 years old, 5 ft. 7 ¾ in. high and black; Mary Shorter was born at Brentwood in 1824, is 38 years old, is a sister of George Dover, 5 ft 2 ½ in. high and black: Elizabeth Shorter, daughter of Mary Shorter, was born in Brentwood in 1843, is 19 years old, dark Mulatto, about 5 ft. 4 ins.: Thomas Shorter, son of Mary Shorter was born at Brentwood in 1845, is 17 years old, 5 ft 5 ¾ in high and black: Benjamin Shorter, son of Mary Shorter, was born at Brentwood in 1849, is 13 years old, well grown & black: Lewis Shorter, son of Mary Shorter, was born at Brentwood in 1851, is 11 years old, strong and tough, but not large for his age brown; Henry Shorter, son of Mary Shorter, was born at Brentwood in 1853, is 9 years brown.; Sarah Shorter, daughter of Mary Shorter, was born at Brentwood in 1855, is 7 years old, brown; Jacob Shorter son of Mary Shorter was born at Brentwood in 1857, is 5 years old, brown: Andrew Shorter son of Mary Shorter was born at Brentwood in 1859, is 2 ½ years old, brown; and Frank Shorter son of Mary Shorter was born at Brentwood in 1861, is 10 months old, & brown.:
That your petitioner acquired her title to the aforesaid service or labor of said twenty one persons in manner following viz; Mary Shorter and all her family of children as above described were acquired by your petitioner under the last will and testament of her deceased son Wm Gaston Pearson, dated 15 January 1858 and duly probated in the Orphan's Court of Washington County D. C. in 1861 and not yet recorded: the said Wm Gaston Pearson having acquired his title thereto under the will of his father Hon. Joseph Pearson recorded in Will Book No. 1 H. C. N. folio 258, in the said Court:—Jenny Butler was acquired by your petitioner by gift from her late father Dr. Chas. Worthington, when a young girl, without written transfer, and has remained in the possession of your petitioner ever since, and her son William Butler was born the slave of your petitioner: all and singular the other persons herein before mentioned as manumitted by said act and belonging to your petitioner were acquired by her under the last will and testament of her deceased husband, Joseph Pearson, recorded in Will Book No. 1. H.C.N. folio 258.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said twenty one persons was at the time of said discharge therefrom of the value of sixteen thousand nine hundred dollars in money, made up of the following items, viz:
Your petitioner hereby declares that she bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that she has not born arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto.
And your petitioner further states & alleges that she has not brought any of said twenty one persons into the District of Columbia since the passage of said Act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said twenty one persons were held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and that she knows of no mental, moral or physical defects in any of said twenty one persons other than as above set forth.
Your petitioner further states and alleges, that her said claim to the service or labor of said twenty one persons 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said twenty one persons 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.
Washington County, To wit
I, Catharine Pearson, 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 12th day of May A.D. 1862.
F. I. Murphey J. P.