Title: Petition of Harriet Donohoo, 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.00443
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, Harriet Donohoo of Washington D.C. 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 a certain person of African descent of the name of Eliza a slave for and during the life of said person and that by said act of Congress said person 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 person was of the age of forty four and of the personal description following:(1) very Black stout and well formed, homily features, and sprightly, and of sound mind, and in height about 5 feet 3 inches
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Eliza in manner following:(2) from William E. Hamilton for the price set forth by the annexed bill of sale. said sum of four hundred dollars was compartively low, on account of his leaving the City, and for the purpose of obtaining for her a comfortable home
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said person was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of seven hundred dollars in money.(3) Said servant is an excellent cook, washer, and ironer, of sound mental faculties, and your petitioner avers that she has no defects or infirmities except her teeth to impair her value
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 person named into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Eliza 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 the said claim to the service or labor of said person 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 value of her said claim to the service or labor of said Eliza 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.
Rec'd from Mrs Harriet Donohoo Four Hundred & Six dollars for purchase of my servant woman Eliza to the best of my knowledge said servant is sound, and I hereby guarantee her a slave for life. unless set free by subsequent owners
Wm E. Hamilton
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Harriet Donohoo 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 8th day of May A. D. 1862.
Wm H. Langley
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.