Title: Petition of Frederick Godfray Hesse, 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.00243

TEI/XML: cww.00243.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, F. G. Hesse of Washington City, D.C. 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 the following persons of African descent of the name of Julia Smallwood, Ann Smallwood, Henrietta Smallwood, Lucy Smallwood, Mary Smallwood, William Smallwood, Nelly Smallwood, Henry Smallwood, Fanny Smallwood, Bernard Smallwood,& William Thomas for and during the life of said persons above named and that by said act of Congress said persons above named 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 held to service or labor by your petitioner were respectively of the ages of [no handwritten text supplied here] and of the personal description following:(1)

  • Julia Smallwood, about 56 years of age, colour Mulatto, good house servant.
  • Ann Smallwood, about 22 years of age, very valuable, first class servant in all respects.
  • Henrietta Smallwood, aged about 20 years, good house servant, & generally useful.
  • Mary Smallwood, about 16 years Perfectly healthy, and a useful servant.
  • William Smallwood, about 14 years of age, Stout healthy active boy.
  • Nelly Smallwood, about 12 years old, sound, healthy & smart girl.
  • Henry Smallwood, about 10 years old, smart, lively, active boy.
  • Fanny Smallwood, about 8 yrs old, Bright, lively child.
  • Bernard Smallwood, about 6 years old, fine healthy child.
  • William Thomas, aged about 32 years, light brown colour, very valuable, faithful, devoted and reliable servant.
All the above enumerated servants are in colour​ varying from light mulattoes to dark copper colours​, none of them being what is usually termed black.


That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said servants in manner following:(2) to wit: by his marriage with their mistress, Mary Camilla Spalding his present wife.

That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said servants was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of 10250. dollars in money.(3) [no handwritten text supplied here]

Your petitioner hereby declares that he bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he 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 he has not brought said slaves into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said slaves 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 his said claim to the service or labor of said slaves 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 Slaves 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)
F. G. Hesse

In the name of God Amen. I John Spalding of Charles County in the State of Maryland being sick and weak in body, but of sound & disposing mind memory and understanding, considering the uncertainty of life, but the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof, do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following:—

Inprimis​—I commend my soul to almighty God, and direct that my body be decently buried at the discretion of my executors hereinafter named

And as to such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to intrust me with I dispose of the same as follows:

First—I direct that all my death and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible, out of the first moneys that shall come into the hands of my executors from any portion of my estate.

Item. I give and devise to my dear son Basil William Spalding &his heirs forever all that tract or parcel of land upon which I now reside, commonly called "Pleasant Hill" Containing about three hundred and forty acres more or less; also one piece of road land being part of "Green's Inheritance" containing about thirty acres and lying, detached from my residence on the main road leading from Port Tobacco to Piscatawny and also one hundred and fifty acres of my woodland lying in Panguya most convenient to "Pleasant Hill" aforesaid, the said one hundred and fifty acres to be laid out by and under direction of my executors.

Item—I give and devise all the rest and residence of my real estate to by two daughters, Mary Camilla Spalding and Ann Caroline Spalding, to them and their heirs forever, share and share alike

Item—I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Camilla Spalding negro man Williams, negro woman Julia and her four children Ann, Henry, Lucy & Mary, and all the natural increase of the said Julia after the date hereof.

Item—I give and bequeath to my daughter Ann Caroline Spalding, negroes Mary, Adam, Lewis, Eliza and her child   James, and all the natural increase of the said Eliza from the date hire of

Item—I give and bequeath to my son Basil William Spalding negroes Jacob, Jim, Ross, Sam, Peter Margaret and Nanny, the daughter of a negro woman, now dead, called Sarah

Item—I give and bequeath all the rest of my personal property of every description whatsoever to my said three children, Mary Camilla, Ann Caroline, and Basil William share and share alike.

And I will and appoint that my much esteemed friend Francis C. Green shall have the tuition and guardianship of my dear children aforesaid during their minority; and I earnestly intreat​ his utmost kindness and affection towards them this greatest care in and about their morals and education.

And lastly—I do constitute my esteemed friends George Brent and Francis C Green executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me heretofore made, ratifying and confirming this and none other as and for my this and sole last will and testament. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this thirteenth day of December in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty seven signed, sealed published and declared by John Spalding the above named testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence and int eh presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto

Robt Fergusson
James L. Hicks
Joseph Stevens
Jno Spalding seal
At the foot of the aforegoing will it is thus written;  

Then came James L Hicks and Robert Fergusson two of the subscribing witnesses to the within and aforegoing last will and testament of John Spalding 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 his last will and testament and at the time of his so doing he was to the best of their apprehensions of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and that they together with Joseph Stewart the other witness respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to this will in the presence and at the request of the testator and in the presence of each other

D Jenifer [Regrofroiles?]

Charles County Sct: April 4th 1848 Then came George Brent & Francis C Green executors of the testament and last will of John Spalding late of Charles County deceased and made oath on the Holy evangely of almighty God that the aforegoing instrument of writing is the true and whole last will and testament of said deceased that hath come their hands or possession and that they do not know of any other

D Jenifer [Regrofroiles?]
State of Maryland
Charles County

In Testimony that the within and aforegoing is a true 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 thirteenth day of May in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and Sixty two.

J. D. Carpinter, Register of Wills
for Charles County

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

I, Frederick Godfrey Hesse 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)
F. G. Hesse

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of May A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
H. G. Spalding J. Peace
Frederick Godfrey Hesse
Filed May 15, 1862

 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: Susan C. Lawrence, Janel Cayer, Rhiannon Root, Robert Voss, and Courtney Geerhart.