Title: Petition of John H. C. Coffin, 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.00520

TEI/XML: cww.00520.xml

To the Honorable S. F. Vinton
Daniel R. Goodloe
Horatio King

Commissioners under the act of Congress of 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 memorialist respectfully represents that on the said 16th of April 1862 by the laws of Maryland & the District of Columbia he held legal claim to service or labor of the following named & described persons in the City of Washington & District of Columbia, who by virtue of said act have been released from said servitude & are now discharged therefrom: viz.

  • 1. Nancy Rustin, black, aged about 65 years, estimated value, $100.
  • 2. Louisa Rustin, black, aged about 30 years, " " 500.
  • 3. Sarah Ann Rustin, black, aged about 28 years, " " 600.
  • 4. Cornelius (son of Louisa black, ages about 13 years, sickly & decrepid​.
  • 5. An infant child of Louisa aged 1 year
  • 6. Eliza (grand-child of Nancy) black, aged about 13 years estimated value, $200.
And your memorialist further represents that he acquired claim to the service or labor of the said Nancy Rustin, her children & grandchildren named in the above schedule, by inheritance of his wife, formerly Louisa Harrison, from her sister   Ann Harrison, late of Charles County in the State of Maryland, who deceased in the year 1849: that soon after he removed the said Nancy & her family from Charles County Maryland to the city of Washington; & that they have since resided there in the First Ward of said city on G street in the neighborhood of 22d street west: & that they were slaves for life.

And he further declares his allegiance to the government of the United States and that he has not borne arms against the United States during the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto: but on the contrary that he has been faithfully endeavoring to serve the government of the United State in the office which he now holds & for many years has held as professor of mathematics in the navy of the United States.

Your memorialist then under the said act of Congress of April 16, 1862 claims such compensation for the labor & services of the above named persons, & especially of Louisa Rustin & Sarah Ann Rustin who are capable, active & in robust health, as you may deem right & equitable.

Signed this 10th day of May 1862 in Newport Rhode Island

John H. C. Coffin

Be it known that on this tenth day of May, Eighteen hundred & sixty two, personally appeared before me the within named John H. C. Coffin, who is personally known to me to be the individual within described, and he made oath that the facts herein set forth are true, according to the best of his knowledge & belief

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affixed the seal of said City, the day & year first above written.

William H. Cranston,
To the Commission on Emancipation in the District of Columbia.

I ask leave to amend my memorial previously presented by giving to the boy named therein as "Cornelius" his full name "Joseph Cornelius Harrison"

I ask also to add to the names of those for whom compensation is claimed Jane Rustin, female, black, aged about 40 estimated value $500. owned by me as a slave & residing in the District of Columbia at the time of the passage of the Emancipation Act.

At the time of presenting my memorial I supposed that she was in Maryland, in the employ of a gentleman residing in that state. Owing to the remoteness of my residence (Newport R. I.) I was not aware of her return to Washington until Monday last, the gentleman to whom she was hired having failed to inform me of her   having left him. I learn that she has been in Washington since the first of January last

She had previously resided here & was in Maryland temporarily.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration
J. H. C. Coffin

Sworn to and subscribed by said J. H. C. Coffin this 30th July 1862 before

Wm R. Woodward clk.
Filed July 30, 1862
John H. C. Coffin
Filed May 28, 1862
Transcription and encoding: Janel Cayer, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Kenneth M. Price.