Title: Petition of Thomas J. Davis, 14 May 1862
Date: May 14, 1862
Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 3. 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.00222
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, Thomas J. Davis of Washington City D.C. 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 persons of African descent of the names of Francis Thomas & Harriet Thomas for and during the life of said 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; that at the time of said discharge said Francis Thomas was of the age of Sixty five years and of the personal description following:(1) A copper colored man, five feet one & a quarter inches high,
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) Francis Thomas I bought from Wm Goodwin, for $200. 19 years since, for whom I have Goodwin's receipts
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said persons was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of seven hundred & fifty dollars in money.(3) Harriet Thomas is an old and faithful servant. I am sure I could not fill her place I would not like to part with her for any consideration. Frank Thomas is also an old and faithful servant both are valuable to me as I can trust them.
Your petitioner hereby declares that he bear true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he have 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 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 personswas 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 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 his said claim to the service or labor of said 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.
Thos J. Davis
I hereby certify that on this twenty fifth day of July eighteen hundred and sixty two personally appeared before me the subscriber and one of the justices of the peace in the aforesaid state and county Susan A Goodwin widow of Henry B Goodwin late of said state and county did and made oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God that on the fifth day of January eighteen hundred and forty three Henry B Goodwin her husband by her consent did bargain and sell a certain negro man Frank Thomas a slave for life property belonging to her to a certain Thomas J Davis then living in the aforesaid county and state aforesaid and that the said Thomas J Davis did receive from them bona fide right to said negro man free of all encomberance, given under my hand and seal this day and year aforesaid
E. J. Maddox seal
Charles County to wit
I Gerard W Crain of the circuit court for Charles County do hereby certify that J T Maddox before whom the within acknowledgement appears to have been made was at the date thereof a Justice of the Peace of Charles County duly confirmed and qualified
In testimony whereof I have hereunto offered the seal of the said court on this 26th day of July Anno Domini 1862
In the name of God Amen. I Francis Semmes being sound in mind and mean in body do make this my last will and testament
1st I leave my body to the earth. I consign my soul to my God who created it
Item. I will and bequeath to my son Francis Semmes two servant men named Tom & Joe. Item I will and bequeath to my son Levi Semmes two servants named John and Terry Item I will and bequeath to my daughter Rose Semmes my servant woman Harriet. Item I will & bequeath to my daughter Rose Semmes my mantle clock. Item I will & bequeath to my three children Levi Semmes Francis Semmes & Rose Semmes my land to be equally divided between the three. Item I will and bequeath to my daughter Louisa Stone one feather bed & bedding. I will and bequeath to my daughter Lucinda Sewell one bed & bedding whatever other property I may be in possession of at the time of my death, I devise it to be equally divided between my three children Levi Semmes Francis Semmes & Rose Semmes
This I acknowledge to be my last will & testament
Witness Thos Lilly
On the back of the aforegoing will it is thus written Charles County Sct Sept 19 1840. Then came Thomas Sardgett and William Lyon two of the subscribing witnesses to the aforegoing last will and testament of Francis Semmes late of Charles County deceased and made oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God that they did see the Testator therein named sign and seal this will and that they heard him publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and Testament and that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of their apprehension of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and that they respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to his last will in the presence and at the request of the testator and in the presence of each other
Charles County Sct
In Testimony that the aforegoing is a true and perfect copy taken from one of the record books of the Orphans Court for Charles County
I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed the seal of the said court this twenty third day of July in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and sixty two
I. D. Carpinter Regr of Wills for Charles County
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Thomas J Davis 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 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, they believe to be true in substance and in fact.
Thos J Davis
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of May A. D. 1862.
Jas. Cull J.P.
Thomas J. Davis
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.