Title: Petition of Rebecca Sears, 7 June 1862
Date: June 7, 1862
Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 5. 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.00645
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, Rebecca Sears of 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 Eight persons of African descent of the name of Jane Addison; Nace Diggs; Louisa Addison; Charity Diggs; Ellen Addison; Harriet Addison; Alfred Addison; and Henry Addison for and during the life of said Jane; Nace; Louisa; Charity; Ellen; Harriet; Alfred; and Henry and that by said act of Congress said Jane; Nace; Louisa; Charity; Ellen; Harriet; Alfred; and Henry were discharged and freed of and from all claim of your petitioner to such service or labor;
- No I. that at the time of said discharge said Jane was of the age of Thirty Seven years and of the personal description following:(1) Light complexion—healthy and hearty—well developed—a woman
- No 2. That at the time of Said discharge said Nace was of the age of Nineteen years and of the personal description following; Black complexion—one leg knock-kneed—hearty & healthy—a strong negro.
- No 3. That at the time of said discharge said Louisa was of the age of Thirteen years, and of the description following; Black complexion—a girl—well developed hearty & healthy.
- No 4. That at the time of said discharge said Charity was of the age of Twelve years, and of the description following—Black complexion—a girl—well developed, hearty & healthy.
- No 5. That at the time of said discharge said Ellen was of age of Eleven years and Six months & of the personal description following; Light complexion hearty & healthy & well developed.—a girl—
- No 6. That at the time of said discharge said Harriet was of the age of Eight years & of the personal description following—Dark complexion—a girl—well developed for her age.
- No 7. That at the time of said discharge said Alfred was of the age of Five years & of the personal description following—Light complexion, a boy—
- No 8. That at the time of said discharge said Henry was of the age of Two years and six months & of the personal description following—Dark complexion—a boy.
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) That the late James W. Sears by his last will and testament admitted to probate 1st day of August 1853 in Alexandria Va, bequeathed to her all of his property real & personal. That those of the said persons who were born at that time passed to her by said bequest and the others have been born since of the bodies of said persons so bequeathed.
- No I. That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Jane Addison was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of One Thousand dollars in money.(3) That the said Jane is a good cook—washerwoman and ironer & house servant. Is very healthy & hearty—never sick.
- No 2. That the said Nace Diggs was worth at his discharge the sum of Eight Hundred Dollars in money—That he is a good house servant—is an Excellent dining room servant. He has one leg slight knock kneed.
- Nos 3 & 4. That the said Louisa and Charity were each worth the sum of Eight Hundred Dollars in money. They are each good chamber maids & house servants.
- Nos 5 & 6. That the said Ellen and Harriet were each worth the sum of Seven Hundred Dollars in money. They are each very bright and intelligent girls.
- Nos 7 & 8. That the said Alfred and Henry were each worth respectively the sum of Four and Three Hundred Dollars in money. They are very intelligent & likely children. Your Petitioner knows of no defects or infirmities except the one of said Nace above mentioned, and believes that none such exist whether moral mental or bodily.
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 persons or either of them 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 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 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.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, to wit:
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
KNOW YE, That a copy of the last Will and Testament of James W. Sears late of Alexandria, in the State of Virginia deceased, hath in due form of law, been exhibited, proved, and recorded in the office of the Register of Wills, for Washington County aforesaid, a copy of which is to these presents annexed; and that administration of all the goods, chattels, and credits of the said James W. Sears, deceased, is hereby granted and committed unto Rebecca Sears of Washington County, District of Columbia.
WITNESS, William F. Purcell Esquire Judge of the Orphans' Court of Washington county, District of Columbia, this third day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty two and of the Independence of the United States the eighty sixth.
Register of Wills.
In the name of God, Amen: I, James W. Sears, of the City of Alexandria, in the State of Virginia, beaing weak and sick in body, but of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding, do make this to be my last will & testament, as follows: that is to say: I devise that my body be buried at the direction of my Executors hereinafter named, and I direct that all my just debts be paid out of my estate, as soon after my decease as may be convenient:
- First—I give devise and bequeath unto my dear wife Rebecca Sears, all my property and Estate real, personal and mixed, wherever situated, consisting of lands negroes, choses in action and money, to be held by her for her sole use & benefit so long as she may continue my Widow, but no longer.
- Secondly:—Upon the death or marriage of my said wife Rebecca, it is my will and desire that my said property and estate real, personal and mixed shall be equally divided amongst my children then living, and the issue of such of them as may have died leaving issue per stirpes, that is to say, the issue of any child who may have died, to receive such share as the parent would have received if living.
- Thirdly:—it is my will and desire, that my said wife Rebecca, shall have full power and authority, so long as she may continue my widow, but no longer, to make reasonable advances, at her discretion to any of my children, on account of their shares in my said property and Estate.
- Fourthly—I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Rebecca Sears, and my son James W. Sears Jr. Executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.
In witness whereof, I the said James W. Sears have hereto set my hand, affixed my seal, this 27th day of June, in the year 1853.
James W. Sears seal
Signed, Sealed, published and declared by the testator James W. Sears, as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, who in his presence, at his bequest and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed our names as witnesses.
Charles S. Pine.
The last will and testament of James W. Sears deceased, was proved in open court by the oaths of Charles S. Pine, and Daniel Shryer, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded.
Test: B. H. Berry Clerk.
County of Alexandria to wit:
I Benjamin H. Berry, Clerk of the County Court of Alexandria County, in the State aforesaid, do hereby Certify that the foregoing are true transcripts from the records of said court.
In testimony where I hereto subscribe my name and annex the seal of said Court, this 26th day of August 1853, and in the 78th year of our Commonwealth.
B. H. Berry—Clerk.
County of Alexandria to wit:
I, William H. Ferole, Presiding Justice of the County Court of Alexandria County, do certify that Benjamin H Berry, is Clerk of said Court and that his attestation is in due form.
Given under my hand this 26 day of August 1853.
Wm H. Ferole, J. P.
Washington County to wit
I hereby certify that the aforegoing is a correct transcript of a duly authenticated Copy of the last will and testament of James W. Sears, deceased, filed and recorded in the office of Register of Wills for Washington County aforesaid.
Witness my hand and seal of office this 2d day of May A. D. 1862.
Register of Wills
I DO SWEAR, that I will well and truly administer the goods, chattels, and personal estate of James W. Sears, late of Alexandria Virginia deceased, to the best of my knowledge, according to law, and will give a just account of my administration when thereto I shall be lawfully called. So help me God.
Subscribed and sworn to this 3d day of May 1862
Register of Wills.
Extract from the inventory of the personal property of James W. Sears, late of Alexandria County, Virginia, as appraised by Charles Walter, and W. W. Cox, under authority of the Orphan's Court for Washington County, District of Columbia, dated 26 February 1859.
|1.||Jane Addison||aged 29 years||1.000.—|
|2.||Bettsey Marshall||" 20 "(sold.)||1.050.—|
|3.||Charles "||" 18 "(sold.)||1,000.—|
|4.||Nace Diggs||" 13 "||850.—|
|5.||Margret Diggs||" 11 "(sold.)||600—|
|6.||Louise Solomon||" 10 "||600—|
|7.||Cherrity Diggs||" 9 "||500—|
|8.||Ellen Solomon,||" 9 "||550—|
|9.||Harriet Solomon,||" 6 "||350—|
|10.||Alfred Solomon,||" 20 months||100—|
The aforegoing is a correct transcript from the original on file in office of Register of Wills for Washington County D. C.
Register of Wills.
Henry Addison has been born since.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Rebecca Sears, the within named petitioner 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.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 31st day of May A. D. 1862.
F. I. Murphey J. P.
James L. Phillips Esq
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.