Title: Petition of Matthew H. Stevens, 22 May 1862
Date: May 22, 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.00369
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, Matthew H Stevens of the City of Washington D.C. by this his petition in writing, represents and states, that [no handwritten text supplied here] 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 Certain persons of African descent of the name of Hannah and Jane for and during the life of said Hannah and Jane and that by said act of Congress said Hannah and Jane 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 Hannah was of the age of Thirty five years and of the personal description following:(1) Plum Colour, Upper front teeth defective full size, Good health, and fine appearance a few White and Grey hairs, in front of Head.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Coloured Persons in manner following:(2) Hannah by Purchase from a trader, from what is termed his Prison or Pen, about 4 years since in Alexandria, Va, Jane, was purchased by me about 2 years Since, [April?] 21 1860 from Charles A C. Higgins agent Mary E. Gott of Montgomery County State of Maryland
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Hannah and Jane was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of Three thousand dollars in money.(3) Hannah one thousand Dollars and Jane worth Two Thousand—Dollars. They Both Being valuable Servants, and to the Best of his Knowledge and Belief. They have no moral Defect
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 Coloured Persons into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Persons 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 Coloured 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.
M. H. Stevens.
Know all men by these presents, that I, Charles A. C. Higgins of Montgomery County State of Maryland agent for Mary E. Gott for and in consideration of the sum of eleven hundred dollars, to me in hand paid by M. H. Stevens, of Washington City D.C. at and before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have bargained, sold, and delivered, and by these presents do bargain, sell, and deliver, unto the said M. H. Stevens a Negro woman aged 26 Years, named Jane a slave for life, to have and to hold the said Jane unto the said M. H. Stevens, his executors, administrators, and assigns, to his and their own proper use and benefit for ever.
And I, the said Charles A. C. Higgins agent for Mary E. Gott for myself and my heirs, executors, and administrators, will warrant and defend the said bargained premises unto the said M. H. Stevens, his executors, administrators, and assigns, from and against all persons whomsoever.
In witness whereof, I. have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 21st day April in the Year of our Lord 1860
C. A. C. Higgins Seal
[H. Wm. Burn?]
W. A. Cumming
Be it remembered and it is herby certified that on this 21st day of April in the Year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty before the Subscriber a justice of the peace of the State of Maryland in and for Montgomery County aforesaid personally appeared Charles A. C Higgins agent for Mary E. Gott he being known to me to be the person unto and named and discribed as and professing to be the party to the within bill of sale and do acknowledge the said bill of sale or instrument of writing to be his act and deed. In testimony whereof I. have hereunto subscribed my name on the 21 day and Year aforesaid
H. Wm. Burn, J.P.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, M. H. Stevens 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.
M H Stevens
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 21st day of May A. D. 1862.
Thomas C. Donn
Justice of the Peace for Washington County District of Columbia
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.