Title: Petition of Jacob G. Smoot, 2 June 1862

Date: June 2, 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.00589

TEI/XML: cww.00589.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 Petitioner, Jacob G. Smoot of Fairfax County, Va. 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 four male and four female persons of African descent of the names of Eliza Ann & Alexander, Julia Rouselle, John Calvert, and George Washington, her four children:—Winny Ann and her infant boy without a name:—and Nelly for and during the life of said eight persons and that by said act of Congress said eight persons, (excepting his doubts stated on the fourth page of this sheet,) 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 eight persons were of the ages of stated below, and of the personal description following:(1) Eliza Ann, aged about 26 or 27 years, dark color, medium size, 5 feet 2 inches high, healthy, a good cook, and first rate house or field servant:—her four children, Alexander aged 11 years, dark brown color, usual size; Julia Rouselle, aged 8 years, nearly black, usual size;—John Calvert, aged 4 years, nearly black, usual size;—and George Washington, from 20 to 24 months old, dark copper color.—Winny Ann, aged 23 years, copper color, about five feet high, compactly made, sound and healthy; and her infant boy four months old without a name, of light color and healthy.—Nelly, aged from 50 to 55 years, black color, 5 feet 3 or 4 inches high, well made, healthy, and a good cook, washer and ironer. They are all good house servants, healthy, and valuable.


That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said eight persons in manner following:(2) I purchased Eliza Ann from my Brother J. H. Smoot about 11 years since, for much less than their value because he did not wish to sell beyond his friends. I only paid for her and her infant five hundred dollars which was only about two thirds their value. Her other children were born since, and the family are worth to me $2500.—: Winny Ann and her infant were acquired by my marriage. Nelly I purchased from Richard Simmons of Maryland, but do not recollect the price. I cannot refer to any record of title.

That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said eight persons was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of (see below) dollars in money.(3)

Eliza Ann and her four children $2500.—
Winny Ann, and her infant boy 1000.—
Nelly, about 500.—
Total, four thousand dollars $4,000 $4000.—
Your Petitioner has stated herein the facts touching their value, and he knows of no moral, mental or bodily infirmities or defects to impair the value of either of them, and believes none such to exist.

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 eight persons into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said eight persons were 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 his said claim to the service or labor of said eight 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 validity of his said claim to the service or labor of said eight 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)
J G Smoot
Residence near Langley, Fairfax Co. Va.

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

I, Jacob G. Smoot 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.

(Signed by)
J. G. Smoot

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27th day of May A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
Edm. F. Brown
Notary Public.
Jacob G. Smoot,
Claims 8 Slaves.
near Langley, Fairfax Co. Va.
Filed June 2, 1862
rejected with statement offers & recommendation
Refer to
John H. Smoot,
Georgetown, D.C.
and Capt​. John D. Kurtz,
Georgetown, D.C.
John R. Johnson

Having been compelled by our Army to leave my farm in Fairfax Co. Va. in October last, and to come to Georgetown with my slaves for a temporary residence, and having been unable to remove them back before the passage of the above Act; I file this Schedule to comply with the Act, but express my doubts whether the above named slaves are properly included in the Act, or whether they may be classed as Fugitives and still be retained by me. I leave this for legal decision.

J G Smoot
Edm. F. Brown.

 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: Courtney Rebecca Lawton, Janel Cayer, and Kenneth J. Winkle.