Title: Petition of Elizabeth Brent, 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.00346

TEI/XML: cww.00346.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, Elizabeth Brent, of Washington, in the District of Columbia, by this his Petition in writing, represents & 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 six persons of African descent of the names of Henry Lancaster, his Two Female Children Susan Lancaster, & Eliza or Lizzie Brown, & the Three Female Children of the said Lizzie Brown, viz, Sarah Jane (generally called "Phelie"), Eliza, & Catharine Brown, for & during the lives of said Six mentioned Persons, and that by said act of Congress said named Six Persons were discharged & freed from & of all claim of your Petitioner to such service or labor; that, at the time of said discharge, said Henry Lancaster was of the age of Fifty two Years or thereabouts & of the personal description following. His color is Black. About Feet 5. 9 Inches in height. The middle finger of his right hand is stiff from the effects of a bone felon.

That said Susan Lancaster, the Daughter of said Henry Lancaster, is unmarried was of the age of Thirty Years or thereabouts of a Chesnut​ Color—About F 5—7 Inches in height

That said Lizzie Brown is married—was of the Age of Twenty Seven or thereabouts—is slightly lame or affected in one of her feet, but that this did not, nor does not, interfere in the least with her capacity or usefulness.

That said Sarah Jane, Eldest Daughter of Lizzie Brown, is of the same Color as her mother:—that she was of the age of nine Years or thereabouts—

That said Eliza Second Daughter of Lizzie Brown, is of the same Color with the Sister & mother & of the age of Five Years or thereabouts

That said Catharine, Third Daughter of Lizzie Brown is of the same Color as Eliza, or rather brighter complexion & of the age of Three Years or thereabouts—


That your Petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid Service or labor of said Henry Lancaster & Susan Lancaster & Lizzie Brown, his Daughters & the Three Children of said Lizzie, Sarah Jane, Eliza & Catharine in the manner following, to wit: The three first named Henry & Susan Lancaster, & Lizzie Brown were owned by my deceased Husband; the late Col William Brent, & my title, in addition to the fact that the said Henry Lancaster was in my possession & owned by me previous to my marriage, & that they were all Six born and raised as Slaves for life in my family, is derived from a noncupative Will of my said deceased Husband, duly admitted to Probate, & as Administratrix on his Personal Estate, as will appear by reference to the Records of the Orphans' Court for this District.

That your Petitioner's Claim to the service or labor of said Henry Lancaster was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of Five hundred Dollars ($500) Dollars in money, & that he is a good waiter, House Servant & Gardener & ready & handy at everything he undertakes, but is subject at times to attacks of rheumatism.

To that of Susan Lancaster, as aforesaid, was the of the value of one thousand two hundred ($1200) Dollars in money. She is strong, healthy, active & intelligent, is a first rate family Cook, Washer & Ironer, & a good House maid —was a valuable Servant when in my family & has been hired out for about a year past at a reduced rate of $7 per month, in consequence of my desire to keep her in a good & safe Employment—

To that of Lizzie Brown, as aforesaid, was of the value of one thousand ($1000) Dollars in money—She is strong, active & handy—She has always lived in my family & is an Excellent Cook, Washer & Ironer & House Servant—docile & faithful

To that of Sarah Jane Brown, as aforesaid, was of the value of Four hundred ($400) Dollars in money—She is healthy, Smart & active—very useful about the house, as Waiter, Chambermaid &c

To that of said Eliza & Catharine Brown, as aforesaid, was of the Value, for the first named of Two Hundred ($200) Dollars, & for the Second named, of One hundred ($100) Dollars in money   Although these two last mentioned Children were & are incapable of work, yet they are healthy & promising & I consider them fully worth the values attached, which amount in the aggregate to $3400 in money.

And your Petitioner avers that she knows of no other infirmities or defects of said persons which impair the value of Petitioner's claim to such service or labor, & that she believes none other to exist.

Your Petitioner hereby declares that she bears true & faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, & 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 & alleges, that he has not brought said Persons before described into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress: & that, at the time of the passage thereof said Six before named & described persons was held to service or labor therein under & by virtue of your Petitioner's claim to such service or labor.

Your Petitioner further states & alleges that his said claim to the service or labor of said Six within named & described 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 & determine the validity of her said Claim to the service or labor of said Henry Lancaster, Susan Lancaster, & Lizzie Brown & her said Three Children Sarah Jane, Eliza & Catharine, herein above set forth; & if the same be found to be valid, that they appraise & apportion the value of said claim in money, & report the same to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States in Conformity to the provisions of said act of Congress.

As witnesses to corroborate these statements, your Petitioner refers to John E Neale and John Carroll Brent of this City

Elizabeth Brent
John Carroll Brent
Attorney for Petitioner.

I Elizabeth Brent, being duly sworn, do depose & say, that all the several matters & things which are set forth & stated in the foregoing Petition, as of my own knowledge, are true in substance & in fact; & that all the several other matters & things therein set forth & stated, as from the information of others, I believe to be true in substance & in fact

Elizabeth Brent

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 20th day of May AD 1862.

H. Naylor
J Peace
Petition of
Mrs Elizabeth Brent
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"—
Filed May 21, 1862
Jno E. Neale
Jno Carroll Brent Esq
Transcription and encoding: Courtney Rebecca Lawton, Janel Cayer, and Susan C. Lawrence.