Title: Petition of Lucy R. Miller, Maria Miller, Harriet Miller, and William Miller, 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.00174
In the name of God, Amen. I Eliza Ariss Miller of the City of Washington in the District of Columbia being sick and weak in body but of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and thereby be the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me hence do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form, that is to say. First after my debts are paid, I devise and bequeath as follows.—To my sister Lucy Roy Miller I do hereby give and bequeath my servant Hannah and her offspring—To my Sister Maria Miller I do hereby give and bequeath my servant Isabella and her offspring.—To my Sister Harriet Miller I do hereby give and bequeath my servants John Joseph Shorter, Charles Edwin Shorter and Nancy to do with said Nancy as she may be disposed.— I do also give and bequeath to my said Sister Harriet Miller my Stock twelve hundred Dollars in the Peoria and Oquamka Rail Road Company and City of St. Louis, Riggs & Co.—Should my two Sisters Lucy Roy Miller and Maria Miller survive my Sister Harriet Miller it is my wish that the aforesaid servants should be eaqually divided between my said Sisters Lucy R. and Maria and also that my aforesaid stock in the Peoria and Oquamka Rail Road Co. and City of St. Louis—Riggs & Co should be eaqually divided between my said Sisters Lucy R. and Maria Miller. Should my Sister Harriet Miller survive my Sisters Lucy R. and Maria Miller it is my wish that she should heir all of my servants and their offspring as before mentioned.
Should my brother William Miller survive my three Sisters Lucy R. Maria and Harriet, it is my wish that he should heir all my servants as before mentioned. viz: John Joseph Shorter, Charles Edwin Shorter, Nancy, Isabella, and Hannah and their offspring together with the whole of my stock in the Peoria and Oquamka Rails Road Company and City of St. Louis—Riggs & Co—Nancy to be taken care of as long as she lives—
Now I make one request of my brother William Miller that he must never sell one of my servants unless it is their wish to be sold and moreover they are not to be sold out of the District of Columbia and if sold they are to have choice of their masters & place.—
And I do by this my last Will and testament confirm and ratify every bequest mentioned in said Will and testament and further devise that in case my brother William shall survive my Sisters Lucy R. Miller, Maria Miller & Harriet Miller all the Stock and Negroes bequeathed to my said Sisters by me in this my last will shall become his indisputable property and estate&and further that in case my Sisters or either of them shall survive my said brother William then and in such case the said bequest to my Sisters shall become the property of the survivor of them as her sole and indisputable property and estate.—
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 22nd day of December in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five.—
Eliza Ariss Miller.
Signed sealed published and declared by Eliza Ariss Miller the above testator as and for her last will and testament in the presence of us, who at her request in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses
J. W. French
Rob. A. Lacey
Washington County, to wit Orphan's Court May 3 1856
This day appeared Robert A. Lacey & William Handy two of the subscribing witnesses to the aforegoing last will and testament of Eliza A. Miller late of Washington County aforesaid deceased & severally made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God that they did see the testatrix therein named sign this will that she published pronounced & declared the same to be her last will & testament, that at the time of so doing she was to the best of their apprehensions of sound & disposing mind memory & understanding & that they together with J. W. French the other subscribing witness respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to this will in the presence & at the request of the testatrix & in the presence of each other
Test Ed. N. Roche Reg. Wills.
I certify that the aforegoing is a true copy from the original filed and recorded in the office of the Register of Wills for Washington County aforesaid
Witness my hand and seal of office this eighth day of May Anno Domini 1862
Register of Wills
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 services or labor in the District of Columbia:"
Your petitioners, Lucy R. Miller, Maria Miller, Harriet Miller and William Miller of the City of Washington in the District of Columbia, by this their petition in writing, represent and state that they are persons 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 five persons of African descent named Hannah, Isabella, John Joseph Shorter, Charles Edwin Shorter (otherwise, Charles Edwin Taylor) and Nancy, for and during the lives of said persons; and that by said Act of Congress said persons were discharged and freed of and from all claim of your petitioners to such service or labor; that at the time of said discharge said Hannah was of the age of twenty-one years, the said Isabella of the age of twenty-six years, the said John Joseph Shorter of the age of fourteen years, the said Charles Edwin Shorter (or Taylor) of the age of eleven years and the said Nancy of the age of fifty-six years, or thereabout. That said Hannah is black, of low stature and well formed; said Isabella is black and of low stature; said John Joseph Shorter is of a bright mulatto color, well formed and likely; said Charles Edwin Shorter (or Taylor) is of a bright mulatto color, well formed and very intelligent; and said Nancy is of a black color, short and stout. That your petitioners acquired their claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons under the last will and testament of your petitioners' sister, the late Eliza A. Miller, deceased; which said last will and testament was duly proved and recorded in the office of the Register of Wills for Washington County in the District of Columbia on the third day of May in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six; and a certified copy of which, marked "Exhibit A," is herewith filed as part of this petition. That your petitioners' claim to the service or labor of said persons was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of Four Thousand dollars in money. That said Hannah is a good house servant, cook, washer and ironer, of a good constitution and free from any infirmity or defect; said Isabella is also a superior cook, washer and ironer, a good house servant, healthy and free from any infirmity or defect; said John Joseph Shorter and Charles Edwin Shorter (or Taylor) are both healthy, capable and efficient as house servants and free from any infirmity or defect; said Nancy is a good cook, washer and ironer, but of somewhat delicate health.
Your petitioners hereby declare that they bear true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States and that they have not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto.
And your petitioners further state and allege that they have not brought said persons into the District of Columbia since the passage of said Act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said persons were held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioners' claim to such service or labor.
Your petitioners further state and allege that their said claim to the service or labor of said 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 petitioners pray the said Commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of their said claim to the service or labor of said persons herein above set forth; and if the same be found 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 with the provisions of said Act of Congress.
Lucy R Miller
We, Lucy R. Miller, Maria Miller, Harriet Miller and William Miller, being duly sworn, do depose and say that the several matters and things which are set forth and stated in the foregoing petition as of our 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 we believe to be true in substance and in fact.
Lucy R Miller
Sworn to and subscribed before me this twelfth day of May A. D. 1862.
N Callan JP
Lucy R. Miller & Others
[Dandige?] & Ingle
Tho H Fisher