Title: Petition of Joseph Bryan, 20 May 1862
Date: May 20, 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.00329
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, Joseph Bryan (of Ala) of Washington City 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 name of Jerry Blount and John Thomas Thornton for and during the life of said persons and that by said act of Congress said Jerry Blount and John Thomas Thornton 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 Jerry Blount and John Thomas Thornton were of the ages of thirty nine (39) and thirty (30) years respectively and of the personal description following:(1) Jerry Blount Mulatto, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, weight one hundred and twenty five pounds, looks delicate, but has generally good health, and is a good cook and valuable house servant.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) Jerry Blount by purchase in the 1848 from Hon. A. P. Bagby, member of Congress from Alabama, for the sum of Seven hundred dollars ($700) No written evidence of title was taken. Value of said person not considered to have decreased.
John Thomas Thornton, by purchase, March 22d 1849 of Henry Douglas, of Washington D.C. (evidence thereof annexed), for the sum of four hundred and seventy five dollars ($475) and his value has since increased to at least $1.500.
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 $2.200.— dollars in money.(3) The value of Jerry Blount is founded on the fact of his being in the prime of life, and his qualifications as house servant and Cook and his honesty and reliability. The value of Thornton on his being in his prime, his full ability to labor, and his knowledge and skill as a florist and horticulturalist, obtained by his employment for many years in those pursuits by [Mis?] Douglas, and by whom he is now so employed. There is nothing in either case to impair value, Except a slight tendency occasionally to indulge in drink by Blount.
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 persons
into the District of Columbia since the passage of
said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said
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 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.
of Ala X
B. O. [Shekell?]
Thos [C. Hampton?]
Received of B O [Shekell?] Four hundred & Seventy five— Dollars, being in full for the purchase of Negro Slave named John Thomas Thorton the right and title of said Slave I warrant and defend against the claims of all persons whatsoever, and likewise warrant him sound and healthy, and Slave for life.
As witness my hand and seal.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
May 19th, 1862
I, Joseph Bryan of Alabama 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.
Joseph Bryan of Ala
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of May A. D. 1862.
Thomas C Donn
Justice of the Peace for Washington County District of Columbia
Jno T. Cochrane 253 F. St
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.