Title: Petition of John H. Smoot, 8 July 1862
Date: July 8, 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.00860
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, John H. Smoot
of Georgetown, 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 two female and two male persons of African descent of the names of Sophy
Hawkins, and Dick, her son;—and
Rebecca McPherson, and her Son, for and during the life of said four
persons respectively, and that by said act of Congress said four 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 four persons were of the ages
hereinafter stated, and of the personal
Sophy Hawkins, aged about forty
years, a dark mullatto, about 5 feet 6 inches high, a good Cook and Washer, occasionally
troubled with rheumatism but not so as to lay her by. She is otherwise sound
and healthy. Dick, her Son, is four and a half years
old, a light mullatto, very smart, and perfectly healthy.—Rebecca
McPherson, aged eighteen years, dark color—about 5 feet
2 inches high—and perfectly sound and healthy.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said four persons, in manner following:(2) Sophy Hawkins by marriage, and her son Dick was born since he owned her.—Rebecca McPherson was purchased by your Petitioner four years ago from Mr. Belt's Estate in Montgomery County, Maryland, for six hundred and fifty dollars, much less than she would have brought if sold to go South. (see Receipt of the heirs, hereunto annexed.)
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 the amount of dollars
.,(3)stated below. Sophy and Dick, one
thousand dollars. Rebecca and her child, twelve hundred
dollars.—He believes they are all sound and healthy, and he believes no
moral, mental, or bodily infirmities to exist in either, except the
rheumatism of Sophy before mentioned, which does
not impair her value as a cook and washer.—
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 four persons 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 his 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 his 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.
J. H. Smoot of Georgetown, D. C.
November 16th 1857
We the undersigned have this day sold to Mr. John H. Smoot of Georgetown D. C. one Negro Girl named Rebecca a slave for life aged about fourteen years, for the sum of Six hundred & fifty dollars ($650.) the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged.
The title to said Girl we warrant & defend forever
Witness our hand & seal as above written.
James [Orme?] seal
Mary [E. P. Orme?] seal
E. C. Belt
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, John H. Smoot 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.
J. H. Smoot
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 29th— day of May— A. D. 1862.
Edm. F. Brown,
John H. Smoot,
Claims 4 Slaves
Georgetown, D. C.
J. Richard Burroughs
& S. B. Burroughs,
Georgetown, D. C.
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.