Title: Petition of Rebecca S. Harrison, 1 July 1862
Date: July 1, 1862
Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 6. 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.00832
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 S. Harrison of Washington 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 a person of African descent of the name of Maria Foreman for and during the life of said Maria and that by said act of Congress said Maria 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 Maria was of the age of Twenty years or thereabouts and of the personal description following:(1) Maria is a bright mulatto, about five feet eight inches in height; stout, robust, erect, and of a pleasing personal appearance and manner
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Maria Foreman in manner following:(2) She was a friendly gift to your Petitioner from Mr. Thomas M. Foreman of Georgia, to whom she belonged at & from the time of her birth, on or about the year 1851. She has held Maria ever since, & she has been raised & educated by your Petitioner, under her immediate and particular supervision, in all the duties of a first rate Family and House Servant
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Maria was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of twelve hundred (1200) dollars in money.(3)Maria, as your Petitioner has already stated, has been carefully prepared for the duties of her station in life; is intelligent, faithful, docile, and of an excellent moral character and genteel deportment. She is a first-rate House Servant, Nurse, Washer & Ironer, and Cook. Further, as a guide to the evaluation of her worth and value, which your Petitioner feels loth to fix in money, for reasons of mutual good will & services, she would beg leave to state; that within the last five or six years, persons have expressed their readiness to pay as high as $1400.; offers or suggestions, which, for the reasons stated, were neglected or refused. Maria is healthy, robust, active, quick in mind and body, very apt & smart, & does everything well she is put to or undertakes. Your petitioner knows of no infirmities or defects of said person which impair the value of Petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and that she believes none other to exist.
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 Maria into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Maria 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 Maria Foreman 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 Maria Foreman 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.
Rebecca S. Harrison
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Rebecca S Harrison 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.
Rebecca S Harrison
Sworn to and subscribed before me this First day of July A.D. 1862.
Jno H Johnson JP seal
Justice of the Peace
Under Emancipation Act
of April 16 1862
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.