Title: Petition of Ann M. Biscoe, Angelica Chew, and Emma Biscoe, 26 May 1862

Date: May 26, 1862

Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 4. 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.00429

TEI/XML: cww.00429.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 Petitioners Ann M. Biscoe, Angelica Chew and Emma Biscoe of George Town in sdDistrict of by this their petition in writing, represents and states, that they are is a persons 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 twenty six persons of African descent of the names of Ezekiel Biscoe, Sam'l Wilson, John Bealle, Nancy Grey, John Grey, James Grey, Horace Grey, Eliza Ann Washington, Clara Washington, Ellen Waring, Rebecca Herbert, Martha Herbert, Henry Herbert, Levi Herbert, Margaret Coleman, Sallie Coleman, Alice Coleman, Laura Coleman, Juliet Coleman, Frederick Coleman, Wm Coleman, Maria Bealle, Nicholas Bealle, George Bealle, Cecilia Bealle and Ida Bealle for and during the life of said lives of said persons and that by said act of Congress said persons 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 persons were respectively of the ages of and of the personal description following:(1) as specified in the statement or schedule hereto annexed, and marked with the initials AMB, being a copy, with the values added, of the statement or schedule filed by them in the Clerk's office of this District, pursuant to the ninth section of said act: to wit:


Schedule A. M. B.

no. Name Sex Age Color Value Particular description
1. Ezekl. Biscoe Male 65. Mulatto $500:– white washer at 1.25 a day
2. Sam'l Wilson " 52. dark brown $800:– Driver—$11 a month, dear.
3. John Bealle " 32. chestnut $600:– Laborer—blind in one eye. 8$ a month, dear.
4. Nancy Grey Female 42. dark brown $800:– cook. 6$ a month.
5. John Grey male 17. black $800– in grocery store. 8$ a month
6. James Grey " 14. " $600:–
7. Horace Grey " 12. " $400:– Children of Nancy Grey
8. Eliza A Washington Female 24. chestnut $1000:– cook at 6$ a month
9. Clara Washington " 2. light brown 100:– her child
10. Ellen Waring " 23. black 1000:– house servt. 6$ a month
11. Reba. Herbert " 35. chestnut 1000:– cook washer &c
12. Martha Herbert " " 16. light brown 800:– nurse. house servant
13. Henry Herbert male 14. " 600:–
14. Levi Herbert " 12. black 400:– Children of Reba. Herbert
15. Margt. Coleman Female 28. light brown 1000:– cook &c 6$ a month
16. Sallie Coleman " 15. " 800:– house servant
17. Alice Coleman " 13. black 500:– "
18. Laura Coleman " 8. light brown 400:–
19. Juliet Coleman " 6. " 300:–
20. Fredk. Coleman male 2 black 150:–
21. Wm Coleman " 1 month. brown 25– children of Margt. Coleman
22. Maria Bealle Female 32 light brown 1000– cook &c
23. Nichs. Bealle male 9 chestnut 400–
24. Geo. Bealle male 3 light brown 200– children of Maria Bealle
25. Cecilia Bealle Female 23 chestnut 1000:– cook &c
26. Ida Bealle " 2 mulatto 100:– her child

That your petitioners acquired their said claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:;(2) viz; the elder ones, with others who have since died, came to your petitioner Ann M. Biscoe many years ago, from her late father James Hopewell of St. Mary's County, Maryland, deceased, on the distribution of his estate; several of the original servants so acquired have since died, and, except the elder ones named in said list, the others therein mentioned are the children and grandchildren of such as have so died, and have been raised and brought up in her own family or under her own eye and care; and on the death of her late husband General George Biscoe of George Town aforesaid, all his interest in said negroes he devised by his Will, dated the 19th July 1859, recorded in the Orphans' Court of this District, as follows; to wit; to your petitioner, Ann M. Biscoe, for her life, and at her death to your other petitioners, Angelica Chew, widow, and Emma Biscoe, his two daughters, equally. The persons named in said annexed schedule constitute the residency of the negroes comprehended and referred to in said devise; and all of them have always been in the possession and under the control of the family, of her said late husband in his life, and of your petitioner Ann M Biscoe, since his death, up to the time of the approval of said act.

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 fifteen thousand two dollars in money hundred and seventy five dollars in money or thereabouts, according to the prices which had been paid in cash for similar negroes by those dealing in them, as they are informed and believe; and could, as they are further informed and believe, have been readily sold for that sum. Your petitioner, Ann M. Biscoe, was advised by her friends, after the death of her husband, to rid herself of the trouble of attending them, and to sell them; but they had been brought up in her family, or about her, and under her inspection, and instructed and trained by her, and she was averse to disposing of them in that manner. Since the death of her husband, the wages derived from them, has been both the sole means of support for herself (now 63 years of age) and her family. The value of each of the negroes is stated in the schedule hereto annexed, marked A.M.B. They are all healthy, well-behaved, orderly servants, free from any moral, mental and bodily infirmity or defect, with the exception of John Bealle, who is blind in one eye, and who will sometimes, on holidays, indulge and frolic, but not to excess, or the neglect of his work or duties to those with whom he may be hired. It is the same as to drinking a little, with Ezekiel Biscoe, who has been a most faithful, diligent and useful servant. They know of no other defect or infirmity in any of them, and believe no other to exist. Such of them as have not been employed in her own family, have been regularly hired out, and have stayed a good while in their places. They were valuable servants.(3)

Your petitioners hereby declares that they bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that they have has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto.

And your petitioners further states and alleges, that they have 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 persons were was held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor.

Your petitioners further states and alleges, that their 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 petitioners prays the said Commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of their 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.

(Signed by)
Ann M. Biscoe Admix​ of Geo. Biscoe & tenant for life.
Angelica Chew
Emma Biscoe Tenants in remainder expectant on the death of Ann M. Biscoe

[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]

I We Ann M. Biscoe, Angelica Chew and Emma Biscoe being duly sworn, do respectively depose and say, that all the several matters and things which are set forth and stated in the foregoing petition, as of my our 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 we believe to be true in substance and in fact.

(Signed by)
Ann M. Biscoe
Angelica Chew
Emma Biscoe

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 24th day of May A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
A. Hyde
Notary Public
Petition of Ann M. Biscoe
Angelica Chew &
Emma Biscoe
Filed May 26, 1862
Dr. G. Tyler
W Redin for Petrs​.

 Note (1.)-- Here describe the person, so as to identify him or her; and if there be more than one slave, describe each one separately.

 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.

Transcription and encoding: Janel Cayer, Elizabeth Lorang, Rhiannon Root, Brittany Jones, and Robert Voss.