Title: Petition of Mary Fenwick, 21 May 1862
Date: May 21, 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.00343
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, Mary Fenwick
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
service or labor against Ann
Shorter, Robert Shorter and
Lucy Shorter— persons of African descent of the name of Ann Shorter, Robert
Shorter and Lucy Shorter—The said
Ann Shorter being held to service— for
and during the life of said
eleven years, four months and fourteen days said
Robert being held to service for twenty one years,
4 months and 14 days, & said Lucy being held to
service for life and that by said act of Congress said Ann Shorter, Robert
Shorter and Lucy Shorter 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 Ann Shorter, Robert Shorter
and Lucy Shorter were of the age, twenty five
years of the age of six years and one year 8 ½ months
respectively and of the personal description following:(1)
that is to say, Ann Shorter is of
black colour, five feet 2 inches high, strong and very healthy, of handsome
countenance, intelligent and experienced as a Cook; a female 25 years
old:—Robert Shorter is a male six years old,
of black colour, three feet 2 inches high, handsome, healthy, bright &
intelligent:—Lucy Shorter, (two years old on
the 31st July 1862) a female of light black
colour, a healthy & well formed child.—The above persons
Ann Shorter and Robert Shorter
were purchased for terms of years—the first for 15 years commencing on
1. September 1858 and the 2d
(Robert) for 25 years
from 1. September 1858—The child
Lucy was born since said purchase—The
purchase was from Mrs. Margaret Barber of this
District & was recorded in the Clerks Office of the District of Columbia about
the date thereof—viz. about 1st September
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Ann Shorter & Robert Shorter in manner following:(2) By purchase from Mrs. Margaret Barber [illegible] of the said District of Columbia as above specified and that Lucy Shorter, a child of said Ann was born since the date of said purchase—
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said persons, Ann, Robert & Lucy, was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of eighteen hundred dollars in money.(3)The said persons thus held to service possessed the qualities above specified and were without any defects, moral, mental or bodily as far known to Your Petitioner such as would impair the value of them—
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,
Ann, Robert &
Lucy, into the District of
Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at
the time of the passage thereof, said Ann, Robert &
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 her 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said Ann Robert & Lucy 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.
Assignmt & Manumission.
Jno. A. Smith Clk
To all whom it may concern. Be it known that I Margaret C. Barber of the County of Washington in the District of Columbia, for divers good causes and considerations me thereunto moving, as also in further consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars current money to me in hand paid by Mary Fenwick of George Town in the said County before the execution hereof (the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged) have bargained sold and assigned and by this instrument do bargain sell and assign unto the said Mary Fenwick her Executors administrators and assigns my Negro woman, Ann Shorter, aged twenty three years, and her two children, one named Robert, born in September Eighteen hundred and fifty five, and the other named Harriet born on July the eighteenth, last past To have take and hold my said Woman and her said children unto and by the said Mary Fenwick her Executors administrators and assigns for the following periods or terms of years—namely—the said Ann Shorter to serve her and them for the term of fifteen years, commencing from the first of September next, and the said two children until they shall respectively attain the age of twenty five years; the mother to be free at the expiration of the said fifteen years, and her said two children to be returned to me or my representatives at their said respective ages of twenty five years, and to serve me and mine, each of them, for the term of five years thereafter, and then to be free; and during the time of their servitude to said Mary Fenwick or her representatives, neither the mother nor her said children shall be sold or removed from or out of the said District of Columbia And further I the said Margaret C. Barber for the considerations aforesaid, and I the said Mary Fenwick in consideration of one dollar to me paid, have, and we do hereby, jointly and severally, release from slavery, manumit, liberate and set free the said negro woman, Ann Shorter, from and immediately after the expiration of the said period or term of fifteen years, for which she is to serve me the said Mary Fenwick or my representatives as aforesaid, and her said two children at their re spective ages of thirty years: and we do hereby declare that the said Ann Shorter and her said two children shall from the period or term, and ages, aforesaid, be thenceforth respectively free, manumitted and discharged from all manner of servitude or service to us and each of us, our and each of our Executors administrators and assigns forever And I the said Mary Fenwick do hereby covenant for myself my Executors administrators and assigns with the said Margaret C. Barber her Executors and Administrators that the said negro woman and her said two children shall not during their respective periods of servitude to me as aforesaid, be removed from or sold out of the said District of Columbia In testimony whereof we the said Margaret C. Barber and Mary Fenwick have hereunto set our hands and seals this thirtieth day of August in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight
M. C. Barber. Ss
Mary Fenwick Ss
John Adlum Barber
Be it remembered that on this thirtieth day of August Eighteen hundred and fifty eight personally appear Margaret C. Barger and Mary Fenwick parties to the aforegoing instrument of writing, before me the subscriber, a justice of the peace in and for the said County, and acknowledge the same to be their respective act and deed for the purposes therein mentioned, and according to the tenor and effect thereof, and the act of assembly in such case made and provided.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Mary Fenwick 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.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of May A. D. 1862.
a Justice of the Peace in & for said District & County
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.