Title: Petition of William A. Nichols, 19 May 1862
Date: May 19, 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.00306
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, Lt Col Wm A Nichols of the US Army 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 Isabella Chisman person of African descent of the name of Isabella Chisman for and during the life of said Isabella Chisman and that by said act of Congress said Isabella Chisman 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 Isabella Chisman was of the age of forty three and of the personal description following:(1) She is about 43 years of age, is a bright-mulatto, about 5 feet one or two inches in height, eyes black pleasant expression of countenance & manners quiet & good
W. A. Nichols
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Isabella Chisman in manner following:(2) viz, by purchase from Mrs Anna Gilliam of Hampton Virginia on the 24 April 1855, for the sum of nine hundred hundred dollars paid to Mrs Anna Gilliam and thirty dollars paid to said Isabella at same time, making nine hundred and thirty dollars in all—(The Bill [as?] sale is annexed and the letter of Dr Semple by whom it was forwarded to me)
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Isabella Chisman was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of One Thousand dollars in money.(3)She is in good health. Sometimes, but seldom complains of rheumatism; She is a first rate cook, splendid laundress, good nurse, and a midwife of more than usual excellence for one of her class, & a good house servant; in fact she is a first-class servant, exemplary in morals, & for many years has been a member of the Baptist Church.
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 Isabella Chisman into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Isabella 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 Isabella Chisman 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 Isabella Chisman 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.
W. A. Nichols
Lt. Col. U. S. Army
Know all men by these presents, that I, Ann Gilliam, have bargained & Sold, and do by these presents bargain, sell & convey, to Major William A Nichols, my Mullatto Slave, Isabella; that I warrant & defend the title to said slave as good & compleete and her health to be at present sound and good, for and in Consideration of the sum of nine hundred dollars, the receipt whereof, is hereby acknowledged. Given under my hand & seal, this day & date above mentioned.
Anna Gilliam LS
I have not had a moment even to write a line and send you the enclosed—All is properly done. Isabella is your property—
Hope you & your family will be able to visit us—I will see to Isabella until you want her—
G Wm Semple
Major W A Nichols
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
City & County of New York
I, William A Nichols 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.
W. A. Nichols
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of May A. D. 1862.
Wm Lee Notary Public
Jno. C. Thomas
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.