Title: Petition of John Little, 21 June 1862
Date: June 21, 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.00744
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, John Little of Washington County D.C. 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 twelve persons of African descent of the names of Delilah Prout and Leanda, Tabitha Rigney, Celeste Hortense & Kalisti her children, Narcissa Rigney, Fawn Worthington and Matilda Rigney children of Tabitha; Elsie Grey daughter of Kalisti Prout—Benjamin Purnell and Geoffrey McKenzie for and during the life of said persons respectively and that by said act of Congress said persons respectively 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 persons were of the ages following respectively Delilah, 63. Leanda 28. Tabitha 25. Celeste 23. Hortense 21. Kalisti 20. Narcissa 7. Fawn 5. Elsie 5. Matilda 6 monthsBenjamin 26 and Geoffery50
of the age of and of the personal description following:(1) They have no particular marks-—Delilah is black and well built with weight 180 [illegible] pounds— Leanda is black—Tabitha copper color Celeste– black—Hortense–black—Kalisti black Narcissa–mulatto—Fawn–mulatto—Elsie black Matilda–mulatto—Benjamin black and Geoffery black—
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) In January 1839 he purchased from B. O. Shekell [&?] W. H. Williams Delilah and her two children Leanda and Tabitha while they were on their way South, and Celeste, Hortense, Kalisti, Narcissa, Fawn, Elsie and Matilda were born while their mothers were respectively owned by Petitioner—He purchased Ben from a Mr. Darrell about 10years ago and Geoffrey he purchased from J. B. H. Smith Esq as Exr of Estate of Geo Bomped, about fifteen years ago.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said persons was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of [no handwritten text supplied here] dollars in money.(3) As per statement annexed Leanda and Ben are perfectly sound. Butchers by trade. . first rate hands—so much so that they easily bring $25 per month, each, and could command $30. Delilah is an old woman of good appearance, a first rate cook capable & willing, honest & good tempered—Tabitha, looks well and presents a good appearance, but "complains considerably", is a first-rate cook reliable home servant—Celeste, Hortense, & Kalisti, are perfectly sound and healthy, honest, and industrious house servants. Narcissa, Fawn, Elsie and Matilda are sound & healthy, very promising in every way—Geoffrey is sound and a very good farm hand—Your Petitioner avers that he knows of nothing which should affect the value of his claim; in fact no amount of money could have induced him as to sell either of them
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 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 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 persons respectively 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, John Little 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 20th day of June A. D. 1862.
B. Milburn J.P. seal
J. B. H. Smith
1. Here describe the person, so as to identify him or her; and if there be more than one slave, describe each one separately. [back]
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. [back]
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. [back]