Title: Petition of Jedediah Gittings, 16 May 1862
Date: May 16, 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.00260
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."
Washington City in the District of Columbia
by this his petition in writing, represent
and state, 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 Five persons of African descent of the names of
Margaret E. Taylor; Fanny, infant
child of said Margaret; Annie
Taylor, Hezekiah Smith and
Louisa M Whitaker
for and during the
said Five persons and that by said act of Congress
said Five persons were
wasdischarged and freed of and
from all claim of your petitioner to such service or labor; that at the time of
said discharge said
Margaret E. Taylor
was of the age of twenty three years and of the
personal description following:(1)
She is of a black or dark brown color and about five
feet two inches in height. She is a female
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Five persons of African descent in manner following:(2) Margaret E Taylor belonged to your Petitioner's father, Thomas Gettings, deceased, by whom she was given to your Petitioner.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Five persons of African descent was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of 4100.00 dollars in money. (3)
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 Five named persons of
African descent into the District of Columbia
since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage
thereof, said five named persons of African descent were
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 his said claim to the service or labor of said Five named 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 Five named 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.
That your Petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Margaret E. Taylor was at the time of said discharge therefrom of the value of Twelve hundred dollars in money. Margaret is a good cook, washer, ironer and household servant. If your Petitioner were to employ any other person to perform the duties that she has performed in his house it would cost him $8 or $9 per month.
That your Petitioner's said claim to the service or labor of said Annie Taylor was at said time of the value of $200 or $300 if taken with her mother. Annie is a sprightly, smart child and was very useful in the house of your Petitioner
Your Petitioner cannot state what was the value at said time of his said claim to the service or labor of said infant Fanny, but he believes that the value of his claim to the service or labor of said Margaret and her said children Annie and Fanny was at the time of said discharge Fifteen hundred dollars
Your Petitioners claim to the service or labor of said Hezekiah Smith was at the time of said discharge of the value of Fourteen hundred dollars In the beginning of the year 1858 your Petitioner paid $690.00 for him He is strong and well built. For the last four years he has been hired out as a cartman—for about three years to Dr. Chapson at $20 per month and for about one year to J. B. Warder at $5 per week.
Your Petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Louisa M. Whitaker was at the time of said discharge of the value of Twelve hundred in money. Your Petitioner bought her in 1848 when she was about three years old for the sum of $80. She was nurse and chambermaid in your Petitioner's family and is healthy and well grown to have a person in the place of said Louisa would cost your Petitioner from $6 to $8 per month
All of said five persons have always lived in the family of your Petitioner or in that of his father and are all of them healthy. Margaret Annie, Hezekiah and Louisa are industrious and honest and very capable and competent servants and your Petitioner knows of no mental moral or bodily defects or infirmities in any of said five persons as would impair the value of your Petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said five persons or of any of them and he believes that none such exist. Your Petitioner further declares that while he has placed what he believes to be a fair valuation on said five persons, they were of much greater value to him and had he been disposed to sell them within the last two years he is confident that he could have gotten a price for Margaret, Hezekiah and Louisa much in excess of the value which he has herein before placed on them.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Jedediah Gittings , 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 their 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.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 16th day of May A.D. 1862
Wm R Woodward clk DC
Petition of Jedediah Gittings
Benjamin E Gittings
Aug. E. Perry
1. Here describe the person, so as to identify him or her; and if there be more than one slave, describe each one separately. [back]
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. [back]
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. [back]