Title: Petition of Elizabeth Abbott, 15 May 1862

Date: May 15, 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.00239

TEI/XML: cww.00239.xml



To the Commissioners under the Act of Congress approved the 16th of April, 1862, entitles "An act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia."

Your Petitioner, Elizabeth Abbot of Georgetown, 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 the service or labor against four male and seven female persons of African decent of the names of Matilda Sims, Henry Sims, James Sims, Charles Henry Ambush, Ellen Norris, Adel Francis Davis, Catherine Ann Davis, Indiana Davis, Ellen Virginia Norris, Joseph Davis, and Cora Davis, and during the lives of said persons, and that by the Act of Congress said named 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 persons were of the age and of the personal description following; to wit—

  • Matilda Sims—aged about 48 years—5 ft 4 in high Dark brown
  • Henry Sims—aged about 47 years—5 ft 9 in—Dark brown. the sight of one eye injured.
  • James Sims—aged about 38 years—about 5 ft 5 in. Dark brown
  • Chas. Henry Ambush—about 36 years—5 ft 5 in. Dark brown
  • Ellen Norris—aged about 45 years—5 ft 4 in. Mulatta​.
years months days
Children of Ellen Norris Adel Francis Davis (twins) 22 6 19 about 5 ft. 2 in. Dark brown
Catharine Ann Davis 22 6 19 5 feet—Chestnut color
Indiana Davis 24 3 18 about 5 ft 4 in Chestnut color
Ellen Virginia Norris 3 5 - Chestnut Color
Children of C. A. Davis Joseph Davis 4 8 23 Bright mulatta
Cora Davis 1 8 20 very bright Mulatta

That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in the following manners:

  • Henry Sims and James Sims (Children of Venus) by Bill of Sale dated 29th July 1823, herewith filed.
  • Charles Henry Ambush, (Son of Hannah) by same Bill of sale herewith.
  • Matilda Sims, (daughter of Venus) by gift from my father more than twenty five years ago—See affidavit of my brother George D. Abbot.
  • Ellen Norris, by gift from my father more than thirty years ago. I have always been under the impression that my father executed a deed to me for Ellen, but I cannot find one. In evidence of my claim to the services of Ellen, I respectfully refer the Hon: Commissioners to the Records of the County Court for the District of Columbia. where it will appear that I manumitted three of Ellen Norris' Children: See Deed of Manumission dated 29 July 1853, recorded on page 556, "Manumission Record, No. 4"—And Deed of Manumission dated 21 August 1855, recorded on page 1 "Manumission Record, No. 5."—And in further support of my title to the services of Ellen I herewith annex an affidavit of my brother George D. Abbot.
  • </ul> <ul>
  • Adel Francis, Catherine Ann, Indiana and Ellen Virginia are children of Ellen Norris—the three first named, by her first husband and the last by her present husband.—
  • Joseph and Cora are children of Catharine Ann Davis.

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 six thousand and eight hundred dollars in money as follows—

  • Matilda Sims—$500.—Is considered by every person with whom she has lived as a very good cook and a good servant in every respect
  • Henry Sims—$800.—Is a stout, able bodied laboring man
  • James Sims—$1000. Is a first rate house and dining room servant, and also a first rate gentleman's servant.
  • Charles H Ambush $900.—Is a good house & dining room servant. also a good carriage driver. and in every respect a good servant. He has been suffering for the last three or four months with the rheumatism, but at this time has nearly recovered from its effects
  • Ellen Norris $600. Adel Frances $800. Catharine Ann $800. and Indiana $800.—They are first rate house Servants in every respect. Adel is a very good seamstress.
  • Ellen Virginia Norris $200. Joseph Davis $300 & Cora Davis $100. They are small children. Cora has an anurism​ on her cheek

Your petitioner knows of no mental or bodily   infirmities or defects of said persons except as stated above, as would impair the value of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and that she believes none other exists:—and that she believes they all are in perfect health with those exceptions.—

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 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 petitioner's claim to such service or labor

Your petitioner further states and alleges, that her said claim to the services 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 her 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.

Elizabeth Abbot

I, Elizabeth Abbot, 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.

Elizabeth Abbot

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 15 day of May A. D. 1862.

Jenkin Thomas J Peace

I, George D. Abbot, being duly sworn, do depose and say, that for twenty five years past by sister Elizabeth has claimed the service or labor of Matilda Sims and Ellen Norris, and I do firmly believe her title to the same is valid; and that said Elizabeth Abbot has for the same times hired said Matilda and also the children of said Ellenever since they were able to do service, and received the money for their services, and no member of my father's family, nor any other person have ever set up a claim for the same. And I, and my brother Charles, have had the services of Adel, Catharine and Indiana, for many years past and have always paid our sister money for the same.

Geo Abbot

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 15th day of May A. D. 1862.

Jenkin Thomas J Peace
John Abbot Bill of Sale
to Elizabeth Abbot
Received of August 1823 to be recorded and the same day was recorded in Liber W.B.W.Q. Folios 205 206 & 207 one of the Land Records for Washington County in the District of Columbia and Examined

By Wm. Bent clk

Know all men by these presents that I John Abbot of George Town, in the District of Columbia, for and in consideration of the sum of Six Hundred Dollars, current money of the United States, to me in hand paid by Elizabeth Abbot, of George Town aforesaid, have and by these presents do give, grant and well unto her the said Elizabeth Abbot, her executors, Administrators and assigns as slaves for life—the following described Negroes—to wit—one Negro woman named Venus, aged about Forty four years and six months—and her three children, namely, Henry, aged about eight years,—Gustavus aged about four years, and James, aged about eight months—Also one other Negro Woman, named Harriett, aged about Twenty eight years—and her Child named Robert, aged about Two years, and two months—To have and to hold the above described negroes to her the said Elizabeth Abbot, her Heirs, Administrators and assigns—forever.—And I the said John Abbot, for myself, my heirs, executors, Administrators and assigns, do hereby warrant and defend the above named and described Negroes, to her the said Elizabeth Abbot and her assigns, against the Claim or claims of all and every person claiming, or to claim the same by, through or under me, my heirs—or assigns—

In Witness whereof I do hereto subscribe   my name and affix my seal this Twenty ninth Day of July. in the year Eighteen Hundred and Twenty three

John Abbot seal
Signed, sealed & Delivered
In presence of
Danl Reintzel

I acknowledge to have received from Elizabeth Abbot the party grantee, above named, the sum of six hundred Dollars—being the full consideration mentioned in the above Bill of Sale—

John Abbot
Danl Reintzel

Be it remembered that on this Twenty Ninth day of July in the year Eighteen Hundred and twenty three, Personally appeared before the   Subscriber, a Justice of the Peace in and for the County and District aforesaid, John Abbot, the party grantor mentioned in the aforegoing Bill of Sale, and acknowledging the same to be his act and Deed for the purposes therein mentioned, and the property therein named to be the right and property of the party granter also therein named, her heir and assigns forever—

Acknowledged before—
Danl Reintzel
Elizabeth Abbott
Filed May 15, 1862
George J. Abbott
Jenkin Thomas
Transcription and encoding: Kenneth J. Winkle, Janel Cayer, Brittany Jones, and Robert Voss.