Title: Petition of Sarah A. Abbott, 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.00179

TEI/XML: cww.00179.xml



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, Sarah A. Abbott of Georgetown, D. C. by this her petition in writing, represents and states, that [no handwritten text supplied here] 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 Leah Dorman a female person of African descent of the name of [no handwritten text supplied here] for and during the life of said Leah Dorman and that by said act of Congress said Leah Dorman was discharged and freed of and from all claim of your petitioner to such service or labor; that at the time of said discharge said Leah Dorman was of the age of thirty one years and of the personal description following:(1) about five feet, three inches high of a quite dark color, sound, strong and healthy.


That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Leah Dorman in manner following: ; (2) the said Leah Dorman was born in the service of my father, Dr. John Austin who presented me with the said Leah Dorman, who was in my service for seventeen years

That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Leah Dormanwas, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of Fifteen Hundred dollars in money,(3) that your petitioner is unaware of any mental moral or physical defect in said Leah Dorman who has always been uniformly healthy—

Your petitioner hereby declares that she bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that she 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 she has not brought said Leah Dorman into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Leah Dorman was 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said Leah Dorman 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 Leah Dorman 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.

(Signed by) [no handwritten text supplied here]

[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]

I, Sarah A. Abbott 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.

(Signed by)
Sarah A Abbot

Sworn to and subscribed before me this thirteenth day of May, A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
J. N. Fearson
Justice Peace Seal
Petition of
Sarah A. Abbott
owner of One Slave.
Filed May 13, 1862
Jones & Ashford
Attys​ for Claimant.
DrJohn Austin

On this 12th day of January A.D. 1863, personally appeared Mrs. Elizabeth Fechtig, and under oath deposes and says: I have been well acquainted with Mrs. Sarah A. Abbott and her husband Charles Abbott, for many years, and have always been intimate with Mrs. Abbott both before and after her marriage. While Mrs. Abbott was single and unmarried, the slave woman Leah Dorman was understood to be her sole and separate property, and the hire for her services was paid to my father, by the persons hiring her, for the use and benefit of Mrs. Abbott. After Mrs. Abbott was married and for nearly two years thereafter, the same action was had, Mr. Joseph Libbey of Georgetown (who then had Leah in his service having hired her) regularly paying to my father, the monthly hire of said Leah, which my father received, and paid over to Mrs. Abbott, regularly without reference to, or by virtue of any order, whatever, from Mr. Abbott.

It was not until Mrs. Abbott, having occasion for Leah's services as nurse, that Leah ever lived with Mrs. Abbott, and the hiring and paying over was discontinued. I am aware of all these facts from my own knowledge, and I know moreover, that Mr. Abbott never pretended or claimed to own or control said Leah Dorman.

Elizabeth H. Fechtig

Subscribed and sworn to before me the day and year first above written.

Saml Drury Justice Peace
Filed January 13, 1863.

 Note (1.)-- Here describe the person, so as to identify him or her; and if there be more than one slave, describe each one separately.

 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.

Transcription and encoding: Kenneth J. Winkle, Janel Cayer, and Nima Najafi Kianfar.