Title: Petition of Eleanor H. Callis, 5 July 1862

Date: July 5, 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.00846

TEI/XML: cww.00846.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, Eleanor H. Callis of Prince Georges Co. Md. 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 Margaret A. Hamilton, Levinia Weeks, Nellie Janifer, Lewis Hanson. for and during the life of said persons and that by said act of Congress said persons 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 Margaret A. Hamilton of the age of 17, Levinia Weeks 15, Nellie Janifer 12, Lewis Hanson aged 37, and of the personal description following:(1)

  • Margaret A Hamilton is short, copper colored, hair and eyes black.
  • Levinia Weeks, spare, bright color, red hair, and light or dark eyes.
  • Nellie Janifer, bright color, black hair and eyes.
  • Lewis Hanson, dark color, black hair and eyes: a little lame. Works at the Anchor Shop at the Navy Yard, Washington D.C. Your Petitioner received $1.00 per day, besides what was allotted to him.
  • Your petitioner is unable to give a more accurate description of the persons named above.


That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) by will of her husband, Henry A. Callis, which is hereto annexed.

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 $3800 dollars in money.(3)Your petitioner has no knowledge of any defect, mental, moral or physical, in said persons, except Lewis Hanson, as set forth in the preceding part of this petition.

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 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 her 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 her 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)
E H Callis

In the name of God Amen: I Henry A. Callis of the County aforesaid do make, ordain constitute and appoint this to be my last will and testament revoking and annulling all others heretofore by me made. Firstly—It is my will and desire that my dearly beloved wife Eleanor H. Callis have and posses all my real estate lying in the County aforesaid without the hindrance or molestation of any person or persons whatsoever during her natural life.

It is my will and desire and I hereby order and direct that so much of the said tract of land called & known as "Barnaby Manor" be layed​ off & sold as may be necessary to pay my just debts, and the remaining part of said land at the death of my said wife, I hereby give and bequeath to Anthony Addison, son of John Addison decd​. of Cole Brooke to him the said Anthony & his heirs forever: he the said Anthony Addison paying annually to Miss Sally D. Hanson the sum of hundred and fifty dollars for her support and maintenance as also the sum of fifty dollars annually to St. Barnabas Church. And whereas by intermarriage with my present wife, Eleanor H. the following named slaves came into my possession, to wit Gerard, Chloe, [& their?] children. Louisa & her children—Those negroes above named I devise to my wife, and the following named servants to wit.

Forrester, Sophia, Mariah, William Mary Hanson Lewis Hanson & the residue of my slaves and all of my personal property of every description I bequeath to my said wife Eleanor H. Callis forever.

And I do hereby appoint my beloved wife Executrix of this will without requiring her to give bond.

Signed & sealed this 21st day of November in the   year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Fifty four & it is hereby signed and sealed, published & pronounced, & declared by the Testator to be his last will and testament who signed the same in our presence

Henry A. Callis seal

& we the Witnesses, signed the same as witnesses at his request in his presence & in the presence of each other

Thomas Grimes
Wm B Bayne
Robert W. Hunter Jr.

Then came Thomas Grimes Wm B. Bayne and Robert W. Hunter Jr. the subscribing witnesses to the annexed and foregoing will and testament of Henry A. Callis late of said County deceased, and made oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God, that they did see the testator therein named sign and seal the same and heard him publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and testament: that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of their apprehension, of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and that they respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to said will in the presence of the testator, at his request and in the presence of each other

Sworn before Wm A. Jarbor Regr​ of wills for Prince George's County.


I William A. Jarbor Register of wills for Prince George's County in the State aforesaid do hereby Certify that the aforegoing is a true Copy of Henry A. Callis's will duly proven according to Law and now upon Record remaining in my Office

In Testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal of the Orphans Court for Prince George's County this 27th day of May A.D. 1862.

Wm A. Jarbor Regr​ of wills for P. G. Coty.

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

I, Eleanor H. Callis 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)
[no handwritten text supplied here]

Sworn to and subscribed before me this First day of July A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
H. Naylor J. Peace
Petition of E. H. Callis
Filed July 5, 1862.
Mr. Anthony Addison
Miss Elzth Black

 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: Kenneth J. Winkle, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Janel Cayer.