Title: Petition of Joshua Peirce, 28 June 1862

Date: June 28, 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.00774

TEI/XML: cww.00774.xml



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, Joshua Peirce 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 the following named persons of African descent of the names of Jeremiah Gibson, Nancy Carroll, Wm H. Becket, Thomas Rhodes, Anna M. Rustin, Ellen Becket, Charlotte R. Carroll, Anthony S. Carroll, Charles J. Carroll, and Wm. Nicholas Rustin for and during the life of said persons and that by said act of Congress said persons were 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 Jeremiah Gibson was of the age of forty eight years and of the personal description following:(1) Black complexion & about five feet seven inches high.

  • Nancy Carroll is about forty five years old, Black complexion, and five feet four inches high,
  • Wm. H. Becket, is about twenty nine years old, Light yellow complexion and about five feet seven inches in height.
  • Ellen Becket is about twenty three, dark mulatto, about five feet six and three quarters inches in height.
  • Thomas Rhodes is about twenty four years old, Black complexion and about six feet, one inch high.
  • Anna Maria Rustin is about twenty three years old, a mulatto, about five feet four inches high.
  • Wm. M. Rustin is about three months, bright yellow
  • Charlotte R. Carroll, is about seventeen, Black complexion, about five feet four inches high.
  • Anthony S. Carroll is about fourteen years old, Black color and about five feet four inches high.
  • Charles J. Carroll is about nine month of age, a Bright yellow complexion.
There are no particular marks on any of the above named persons except Wm. H. Becket who has a scar of a burn on his cheek produced by falling on the stove when a child.


That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) That is to say

  • Gibson was brought by your petitioner from the estate of Thomas B. Offutt of Montgomery County Md. about the year 1821.
  • Nancy Carroll was bought of Mr. John Ingle of Washington D.C. about twenty six years ago.
  • All tho rest were born in the possession of your petitioner.

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 $10,575 dollars in money.(3) Gibson is valued at $1200. Nancy Carroll at $800, Wm. H. Becket at $2,000, Thomas Rhodes at $1600, A M Rustin at $1200, Ellen Becket at $1200, Charlotte R. Carroll at $1200, A. S. Caroll at $1200, Charles J. Carroll at $100 and Wm N Rustin at $75.

  • Gibson is a good salesman at market in selling produce from my farm & nuseries​ he is honest trustworthy & faithful.
  • Nancy Carrol lived in my family for 26 years is my house keep is also an excellent cook & has charge of the keys of and the whole management of my house. Strictly honest intelligent & worthy of all confidence.
  • Wm. H. Becket has acted as foreman in my garden, green houses, and nurseries, is familiar with the various branches of that business can read & write well is a good coachman & is now employed in that capacity by the Secretary of State, the honorable W. H. Seward & receives $20 per month.
  • Tom Rhodes is a first rate coachman and well skilled in the management of horses is also an excellent farm hand is strictly honest obedient faithful & good natured.
  • Anna, Ellen & Charlotte, are all excellent house servants have been taught cooking, washing. & ironing and all the branches of plain sewing & all that is calculated to make them excellent house servants.
  • Anthony is a smart, honest, & intelligent lad and promises to be an excellent servant and useful man.
  • Charles and William, are both babies, bright & healthy children.
There are no moral, mental, or bodily infirmities on either of the above persons known to your petitioner except the scar mentioned on the person of Wm Becket.

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 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 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.

(Signed by)
Joshua Peirce

[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]

I, Joshua Peirce 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.

(Signed by)
Joshua Peirce

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 19 day of June A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
N. Callan JP
Joshua Peirce
Filed June 28, 1862.

 Note (1.)-- Here describe the person, so as to identify him or her; and if there be more than one slave, describe each one separately.

 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.

Transcription and encoding: Susan C. Lawrence, Janel Cayer, Courtney Geerhart, and Brittany Jones.