Title: Petition of Rebecca Williams, 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.00790

TEI/XML: cww.00790.xml

 

PETITION.

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 Williams of Georgetown D.C. 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 person of African descent of the name of Sarah Mason, Sophia Mason, Sarah Mason, William Mason, Charity Armbush, Samuel Stevenson, Henry Armbrush, John Thomas, for and during the life of said named Slaves and that by said act of Congress said Slaves 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 Slaves were of the age of given below and of the personal description following:(1)

  • 1st Sarah Mason about 48 years of age, over five feet dark skin, and in good health.
  • 2d Sophia Mason 30 years of age over five feet dark skin and in perfect health.
  • 3d Sarah Mason 12 years of age about five feet dark skin and in perfect health.
  • 4th William Mason 7 years of age (male) about 4 ½ feet dark skin and in good health.
  • Charity Armbush 45 years of age over five feet not very dark skin in good health.
  • Samuel Stevenson 30 years of age about six feet not very dark skin in perfect health strong and able bodied man.
  • Henry Armbush 23 years of age about six feet not very dark skin in perfect health
  • John Thomas 21 years of age about six feet not very dark skin in perfect health.

 

That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said eight slaves in manner following:(2) Sarah Mason was purchased about the year of 1833 and has been in her possession until the passage of this act. Sophia Mason born of Sarah Mason and Sarah Mason and William Mason born of Sophia Mason.

Charity Armbush was purchased about the year of 1826 and has been in her possession until the passage of this act Samuel Stevenson, Henry Armbush, and John Thomas all born of Charity Armbush:

That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said eight slaves was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of $10,500. dollars in money.(3)as follows:

  • Sarah Mason valued at one thousand dollars is a good house keeper and cook, having been hired out as such some years, she has been prompt in her monthly returns and has yielded me $60. a year all over and above $5.00 per month belonged to herself. she has been a good and faithful servant $1000.00
  • Sophia Mason valued at fourteen hundred dollars, was born of Sarah Mason, has been brought up in my service having cooked and washed for my family for several years until the passage of this act she is a strong framed woman and has been a faithful and good servant $1,400.00
  • Sarah Mason valued at one thousand dollars born of Sophia Mason has been raised in my service is a good servant and able to do the work of an ordinary woman. $1,000.00
  • William Mason valued at five hundred dollars is large enough to act as a waiter and run on errants​ he having been raised by me and is a good boy $500.00
  • Charity Armbush valued at one thousand dollars is a good house keeper and a very fine cook having been hired out as such for some years she has been prompt in her monthly returns and has yielded me $60. a year, all over and above $5.00 per month belonged to herself. $1,000.00
  • Samuel Stevenson value at two thousand dollars having been hired out for several summons at from $1.23 to $1.50 per day as a common brick layer and extra fine laborer, he paying me $1.00 per day reserving to himself all over and above $1.00 per day for his own use by my
 
    consent—during the winter he hired at the National Hotel and at Willards Hotel at $15.00 per month, paying me $12.00 per month clear of all expense, all over and above the $12.00 per month during the winter season he reserved to himself for his own use by my consent, he was head waiter a season at the National Hotel, and an assistant cook a season or more at Willards Hotel. After which he hired to one of the Companies of the 7th Regt​ of New York volunteers upon their arrival and encampment opposite the Columbian College on 14th St Washington City, thence transferred to the 8th Regt​ upon the return of the 7th to New York and thence carried to New York by the 8th Regt​ upon the expiration of their term of service $2,000.00
  • Henry Armbush value at eighteen hundred dollars is a first class waiter and house servant having been such in my family for some years he has hired at Willards Hotel for $15.00 per month, paying me $12.00 per month reserving for his own use all over and above $12.00 per month by my consent He is a good and faithful servant. $1800.00
  • John Thomas valued at Eighteen hundred dollars is a first class waiter and house servant, and remained as such until and after the passage of this act. At present he is hired at the Kirkwood Hotel as a first class waiter. He is a good and faithful servant. $1800.00
  • $10,500.00
Your petitioner further states that she has no knowledge of any infirmities or defects of said persons which impair the value of her claim to such service or labor, and that she believes none other exists.
 

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 eight slaves into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said eight slaves 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 eight slaves 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 eight slaves 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)
Rebecca Williams
 

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

I, Rebecca Williams 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)
Rebecca Williams

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 28th day of June A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
Henry Reaver JPeace
790
Rebecca Williams
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: Janel Cayer, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Kenneth M. Price.