Title: Petition of William McKnew, 16 June 1862
Date: June 16, 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.00683
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, William McKnew, of Prince Georges County State of Maryland 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 a female person of African descent of the name of Maria Walker and also against a female person of African descent of the name of Mary Walker, and also against a female person of African descent, of the name of Nelly—and also against a male person of African descent of the name of Isaac Walker, for and during the lives of said persons, and that by said act of Congress said persons 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 Maria Walker was of the age of thirty years, or thereabouts, and of the personal description following:(1) of a dark-brown or copper color, small, or, perhaps, of a medium size & likely; said Mary Walker was of the age of about eight years, of a dark-brown or copper color and fine-looking; said Nelly was of the age of forty-five years, or thereabouts, black, and large; and said Isaac Walker was of the age of five or six years, of a dark-brown or copper color & fine-looking.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) Said Maria Walker was born his slave; said Mary Walker and said Isaac Walker were also born his slaves, being children of said Maria Walker; and said Nelly was allotted to his wife, Mary McKnew, in the distribution of the personal estate of her father, John C. Prather, under an order of the Orphans Court of Prince Georges County, in the State of Maryland, made in the Spring of 1861,
That your petitioner
's cannot state positively what was the value of his
claim to the service or labor of said persons
was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of
dollars [no handwritten text supplied here] in money.(3)but this he can state, that
immediately before the present war commenced, his claim to the service or
labor of said Maria Walker was worth at least
eight hundred dollars; his claim to the service or labor of said
Mary Walker was worth at least five hundred
dollars; his claim to the service of labor of said Isaac
Walker was worth three or four hundred dollars; and that his
claim to the service or labor of said Nelly was worth
about three hundred dollars, making, in the aggregate, from $1,900 to
$2,000.—Said Maria Walker is a first rate
house-servant, being an excellent cook, washer and ironer; and has always
commanded high-wages; Said Nelly is somewhat afflicted
with rheumatism, but not to such an extent, as to disqualify her from work.
Your petitioner has no knowledge of any infirmity or defect, moral mental or
bodily, in the case of said Maria
Mary & Isaac, [which?] impair
his claim to [such?] service or labor; & he knows of no other in the case
of said Nelly, than that above mentioned, and he
believes none other 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 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 were 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 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 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.
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, William McKnew, 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 14th day of June A. D. 1862.
F. I. Murphey J. P.
R. L Morsell,
Atty. for Claimant,
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.