Title: Petition of John M. Belt, 28 May 1862
Date: May 28, 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.00512
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, John M. Belt of Georgetown 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 two persons of African descent of the name of Minty Clark & William Henry Thornton for and during the life of said Minty Clark and for said Wm H. Thornton until he shall have arrived to twenty one years of age 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 Minty Clark of the age of Forty two & William Henry Thornton sixteen years and of the personal description following:(1) Minty Clark is about five feet in height, flat nose, high cheek bones rather slow in movement, has a pleasant smile & rather dark complexion, Wm. H. Thornton is a bright mulatto, quick, sprightly, intelligent hair nearly straight, dark eyes and good teeth about four and a half feet high.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Minty Clark in manner following:(2) inherited her from his mother Mrs Mary G. Belt, eighteen years ago, who inherited her from her father John McGill Wm H Thornton was bequeathed to him by the sale Mrs Mary Ann Miller, as will appear by her will on recored in the Orphans Court of this Washington County D.C.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said slaves was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of One Thousand dollars in money.(3) Minty Clark is sound in mind and body and I have no knowledge of any infirmity or defect, William is a healthy boy, and I have no knowledge of any infirmity or defect in mind or health Minty Clark for eight Hundred Dolls. and Wm H. Thornton for Two Hundred,
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 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 the 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 value of the 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.
J M. Belt
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, John M. Belt 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.
J M. Belt
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 28th day of May 1862 A. D. 1862.
Wm R. Woodward Clk
Petition of J M. Belt
R .T. McGill
Dr. G. Tyler
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.