Title: Petition of Christian Gittings, 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.00599
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, Christian Gittings of Washington City in the District of Columbia 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 one person of African descent of the name of Otha Bell for and during the life of said Otha Bell and that by said act of Congress said Otha Bell 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 Otha Bell was of the age of forty eight years and of the personal description following:(1) he is about five feet eight inches in height, of a black color, with dark hair; eyes dark with a reddish appearance
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Otha Bell in manner following:(2) That said Otha Bell was the property of and held to service and labor by your Petitioner's late husband Thomas Gittings, deceased, who died in the latter part of year eighteen hundred and forty seven; that at a sale in the beginning of the year eighteen hundred and forty eight, of the property of your Petitioners said husband and Otha Bell was purchased by your Petitioner for the sum of six hundred and thirty ($630) dollars and that he has since been held and owned by her
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Otha Bell was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of one thousand dollars in money.(3)Your petitioner farther declares that said Otha Bell has been hired out as a laborer by your Petitioner and that from such hiring she received from fifty cents to one dollar and twenty five cents per day; that sometimes she received fifty cents, at others seventy five cents and at others one dollar and at others one dollar and twenty five cents a day; that your Petitioner from such hiring of said Otha Bell received as she believes in the aggregate about two hundred dollars per year: that said Otha Bell is a strong and active man; that your Petitioner knows of no moral, bodily, or mental infirmities or defects of said Otha Bell, nor of any such as would impair your Petitioners claim to his service or labor and your Petitioner believes that none such exist
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 Otha Bell into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Otha Bell 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 Otha Bell 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said Otha Bell 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.
her X mark Christian Gittings
E. G. Handy
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Christian Gittings 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.
her X mark Christian Gittings
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 30th day of May> A. D. 1862.
E G Handy J.P.
Benj. E. Gittings
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.