Title: Petition of Matilda Coyle, 29 May 1862

Date: May 29, 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.00555

TEI/XML: cww.00555.xml



To the Commissioners under the act of Congress approved 16th April, 1862, entitled "An act for the release of certain persons held to service or Labor in the District of Columbia

Your Petitioner Matilda Coyle of Washington City 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 certain persons of African descent of the names following Henney Dant, Elizabeth Dant, Eliza Dant William Dant, and Richard Dant slaves for and during the lives of said parties and that by said Act of Congress said parties 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 parties was of the age of and personal description as follows

  • Henney Dant aged 32 years Mullatto​ 4 ft 11 inches high
  • Elizabeth Dant aged 16 years Mullato​ 4 ft 9 in high
  • Eliza Dant aged 28 years Mullato​ 4 ft 11 inches high
  • William Dant aged 8 yearsMullato
  • Rachel Dant aged 6 years Mullato

That Your Petitioner acquired   her title or claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manners following that is to say by inheritance

That your petitioners claim to the service or labor of said persons was at the time of said discharge therefrom of the value of in money as herein below set forth namely

  • Henney Dant value $800—
  • Elizabeth Dant " 800—
  • Eliza Dant " 800—
  • William Dant " 500
  • Rachel Dant " 400
The three first named are valuable House servants brought up to the good qualities of such by good training and careful attention they are of good character, and sound mind and your petitioner avers that she knows of no defects or infirmities to impair their value

The remaining two are smart active children, and capable of rendering themselves useful in all the particulars appertaining to the duties of children of that age in domestic requirements


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 same in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto

And your petitioner further states and declares that she 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 her 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 United States

And your petitioner prays the said Commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of her said claim to the service or labor of said parties 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.

Matilda Coyle

I Matilda Coyle 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 matters and things therein set forth and stated as from the information of others I believe to be true in substance and in fact

Matilda Coyle

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 29th day of May in the year of Our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Sixty two

Thos. Donoho, J. P.
Transcription and encoding: Janel Cayer and Susan C. Lawrence.