Title: Petition of Susannah Harriet Tobias, 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.00192
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, Susannah Harriet Tobias, of Washington D. C. 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 one Female Slave—a— person of African descent of the name of Treacy, for and during the life of said Treacy, and that by said act of Congress said Treacy 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 Treacy was of the age of about 38 years, and of the personal description following:(1) She is black in complexion, hair and Eyes; in height, about five feet Eight inches; very large and muscular; quite fat, weighing near three hundred pounds—is healthy, industrious and intelligent,
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Treacy in manner following:(2) By devise of the Aunt of your Petitioner, Susannah Beck deceased, late of the County of St. Mary's in the state of Maryland, as shown by exhibit herewith of a certified copy of the Last Will and Testament of said Susannah Beck, and other exhibits.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Treacy was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of $1,300 00/100 dollars in money.(3) Your petitioner further represents that the value of said service or labor was, as she believes, much enhanced by the following personal qualities of the said Treacy: She was not viable to maternity: she was of uncommon bodily strength: she was healthy: she was industrious: she was docile and obedient. Your petitioner further avers that she knows of no mental or bodily infirmity to impair the value of said service and labor.
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 Treacy into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Treacy 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 Treacy 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 Treacy 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.
Susannah Harriet Tobias
Formally Susannah Harriet [Keech?] 424 Sixth Street
In the Name of God amen. I Susanna Beck of Saint Mary's County in the State of Maryland, being in perfect health of body and of sound and disposing me [torn edge] memory and understanding, considering the certainty of death and t[he?] 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 therefore make and publish this my Last Will and Testament in the manner and form following that is to say,—first and principally I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God, and my body to the earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executors herein after named and after my debts and funeral charges are paid I devise and bequeath as follows—
Item I give and bequeath unto my nephew William Sothoron Keech all the Lands I purchased of my brother James Keech it being apart of two tracts or parcels of Land containing about two hundred and thirty four acres during the lifetime of my brother James Keech and Clarissa his wife, and after each of their deaths my will is for said Lands to be equally divided between my six neaces Susanna Harriot, Mary Elizabeth, Clarissa Evelina, Martha Matilda, and Alice Keech, daughters of my Brother James, it being my intention and wish to provide a supporte for my brother James Keech and their youngest children, Item I give and bequeath unto my brother Samuel Keech my undivided Interest of the Land where my brother now lives to him and his heirs forever—Item I give and bequeath unto my neace Evelina Keech my undivided Interest in and to the plantation where my late mother Lived to her and her heirs forever but if she should die without heir then my will is for my part of said Land to be the property of my neace Martha Matilda Keech and her heirs forever, Item I give and bequeath unto my Nefphew William Sothoron Keech, my part of the carriage which is one half of the horses with a desire for him to keep it in order for the use of his mother during her life. Item I give and bequeath unto my Brother Samuel Keech his natural Life seven negroes Charles, Mary, Bazel, Sabra Ann, Treacy, George Thomas and Benjamin Benedict, and after the death of my Brother Samuel Keech my will and desire is that my negro woman Mary shall be sold, for her to have choice of her master, and the money arising from the sale to be equally divided between my late Brothers Philimore Keech's Children James Edward, Philimore Estess and Jane Eliza Keech—Item I give and bequeath unto my neace Susanna Harriot Keech after the death of my Brother Samuel Keech my negro girl Treacy. Item I give and bequeath unto my neaces Mary Elizabeth Keech after the death of my Brother Samual Keech my negro girl Sabra Ann—Item I give and bequeath unto my neace Evelina Keech after the death of my Brother Samuel Keech my negro boy Bazel, and for twenty dollars of the income of said negro boy to be paid annually to my brother John E. Keech, during his life—Item, I give and bequeath unto my nephew James Alexander Keech after the death of my Brother Samuel Keech my negro man Charles—Item, I give and bequeath unto my neace Alice Keech youngest daughter of my Brother James Keech after the death of my Brother Samuel Keech, my two negroes boy George Thomas, and Benjamin Benedict, the hire of Benedict to be paid annually by, for four years to my neace Mary Anne Keech—Item, I give and bequeath unto my Nefphew James Alexander Keech and my neace Mary Anne Keech, after the death of my Brother Samuel Keech the residue of my Estate to be equally divided between them my further will and desire as if any of nephews or neaces should die before they arrive at age or without Heirs then and in that case for the survivor or survivors of them that may be dead to them in equal proportions the property they being dead would have been entitled to, and Lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my Brother James Keech and my Nephew William Sothoron Keech, to be my whole executors of this my Last Will and Testament, revoking and annulling all former wills by me heretofore made, satifying and confirming this and none other to be my Last Will and Testament. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this thirty first day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight—
Susanna Beck seal
Signed, Sealed, published and declared by Susanna Beck the above named testatrix as and for her Last Will & 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 thereto—(the word December in the eighteenth line of this page, being first interlined—
John Ralph, James Reeder, William H. Reeder St. Mary's County Court. The 8th March 1831 Then came William Keech of James before me the subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace in and for the County aforesaid and mad oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God, that on the 7th day of March Instant he gave notice in the name and at the request of William S. Keech one of the Executors of Susanna Beck late of Saint Mary's County deceased, give notice to Samuel Keech and John E. Keech brothers of the deceased, that the will of the deceased would be offered for probat before the Orphan's Court on this 8th day of March 1831 and that they might attend if they thought proper—
Then came John Ralph and William H. Reeder two of the three subscribing witnesses to the within last Will & Testament of Susanna Beck late of Saint Mary's County deceased, and severally made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God, that they did see the testatrix therein named sign and seal this Will, and that they heard her publish, pronounce and declare the same to be her last Will & Testament, that at the time of her so doing she was to the best of their apprehensions of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding, and that they respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to this will, in the presence, and at the request of the testatrix and in the presence of Each other, and also that they did see James Reeder the other witness to this will subscribe the same, in the presence and at the request of the said testatrix
E. J. Millard Regr of Wills for Saint Mary's County
James T. M. Raley Regst. of wills for Saint Mary's County
Last Will and Testament
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Susannah Harriet Tobias, 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.
Susannah Harriet Tobias
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 10 day of May A. D. 1862.
Jno. H Johnson J. P. seal
Alexander Keech, Bladensburg Md.
Mr. Frances Keech, his wife, dv.
John M Binckley
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.