Title: Petition of Sarah J. Sommervell, 23 June 1862
Date: June 23, 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.00771
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."
Sarah J. Sommervell
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 four
persons of African descent of the name of
Stephen Dorsey her son, Priscilla
Wilson & Alice Sefas
for and during the life of said
and that by said act of Congress said four
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 four persons were
was of the age of
ages and of the personal descriptions following:(1)
- Dinah Dorsey is about fifty one years of age about five feet three inches in height & a dark copper color in complexion.
- Stephen Dorsey Son of Dinah is fourteen years of age about four feet eleven inches tall & same color of his mother.
- Priscilla Wilson is about twenty three years of age, about five feet high, quite dark in color
- Alice Sefas is about fifteen or sixteen years old about five feet tall, dark color.
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said four persons in manner following:(2) To wit. She purchased all of them for valuable considerations at different times, & has had them in her possession claiming them as her servants for a number of years past.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said four persons was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of $4000 dollars in money.(3) The said Dinah is in good health, a good cook good seamstress house servant & washer & ironer, & very honest, & worth at least Eight hundred (800) dollars. Stephen is young, healthy, honest & very smart, house servant, dining room servant & good driver of a one horse carriage & is worth at least $1000—Priscilla Wilson is young, healthy honest smart, good house servant, and a No. 1 cook wash & iron, first rate nurse, can turn her hand to anything—& is worth at least $1200—Alice Sefas is a young, smart, & honest, good dining room servant & chambermaid, does the marketing for the family, & is worth at least $1000. Your petitioner having refused a year or so ago $800 for her—
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 four persons or any
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 four 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said four 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 four 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.
Sarah J. Sommervell
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Sarah J. Sommervell 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.
Sarah J. Sommervell
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 23 day of June A. D. 1862.
J. W. Barnacle JP
Petition of Sarah J. Sommervell
J. C. Marbury
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.