Title: Petition of Absalom Brown, 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.00390
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, Absalom Brown of Washington D.C. 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 one person of African descent of the name of Ned Howard for and during the life of said Ned Howard and that by said act of Congress said Ned Howard 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 Ned Howard was of the age of about twenty-seven years and of the personal description following:(1) about five feet, eight inches in height, dark color, perfectly sound & healthy in mind and body & without any defect whatever His character is such that he commands the highest wages
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Ned Howard in manner following:(2) as executor of the late William Brown, as exhibited in the accompanying will
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Ned Howard was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of fifteen Hundred dollars in money.(3)I aver that I know of no infirmity or defect of said Ned Howard & I believe that none exists
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 Ned Howard into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Ned Howard 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 Ned Howard 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 Ned Howard 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.
In the name of God, Amen, I William Brown of the village of Savage in the County of Howard and State of Maryland, being of sound mind and memory—blessed be God for the same—, do make and publish this my last will and Testament I give and bequeath to my daughters Ellen, Providence and Mary, my four negroes named Susan, Stephen, Ned, and Amanda to serve them faithfully during the single life of my said daughters; but provided any of my said daughters should marry then all claim to my said negroes ceases in those who marry, but continues in those who remain single. Should all of my said daughters die before said negroes attain to the ages of forty individually then my remaining heirs are to have equal claim to said negroes; but after said negroes shall have attained to the ages of forty, my said daughters being dead then said negroes have full privilege to live with, or to choose a master as suits their fancy from among my heirs then living—Should my said negroes not serve faithfully my said daughters, then I grant my executor full authority to sell those misbehaving and he shall retain ten percent of the value of said slave sold, as compensation for his trouble in selling; the residue of said money shall then be put at interest, which interest above shall be used in the support of my single daughters and be subject to their order; and should any of said money obtained from the sale of said slaves, remain when my single daughters are all dead, then my remaining heirs shall divide the sum equally among them.—
I give and bequeath to my daughter Ellen and Providence all issue arising from my said negro Amanda.
I also give and bequeath to my son Absalom my bed and bedding.
I do appoint my son Absalom to be guardian to my daughter Mary—
I do nominate and appoint my son Absalom to be executor of this my last will and Testament
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 28th day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty three
his x mark William Brown Seal
signed, sealed, published and declared in the presence of us, by William Brown the above named testator as and for his last and Testament, and we have at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other, subscribe our names as witnesses thereto
Sam K. Dashiell
Wm V. Haislett
Joshua B. Davis
The 19th day of February 1856 came Samuel K. Dashiell and William Haislett two of the subscribing Witnesses to the foregoing last will and Testament of William Brown late of Howard County deceased and made oath on the Holy evangely of Almighty God that they did see the Testator therein named sign and seal this will and that they heard him publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and Testament, that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of their apprehension of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and they together with Joshua B. Davis the other subscribing witness respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to this will in the presence and at the request of the Testator and in the presence of each other
Thomas B. Hobbs Register of wills for Howard County
In Testimony that the foregoing is a true copy taken from "Wills Liber W. G. no 1 folio 346 & being one of the Records in the Office of the Register of Wills for Howard County (over)
I hereunto subscribe my name and affix the seal of my office this twenty first of February in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty six
Thomas B. Hobbs Register of wills for Howard County
W H Jones
[Act of Congress?]
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Absalom Brown 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.
Executor of Wm Brown
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of May A. D. 1862.
Thomas C Donn
Justice of the Peace for Washington 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.