Title: Petition of Joseph S. Wilson, 11 July 1862
Date: July 11, 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.00890
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, Joseph S. Wilson of Washington City 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 a female person of African descent of the name of Mary Harrison for, and during the life of said Mary Harrison, and that by said act of Congress, said Mary Harrison 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 Mary Harrison was of the age of about Eighteen, and of the personal description following:—of dark color and ordinary height, healthy and robust.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Mary Harrison in manner following:—by purchase from Wm. H. Hager of Maryland in 1855, for the consideration of $350, (three hundred and fifty dollars) as shown by the copy Bill of sale hereto annexed.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Mary Harrison, was to him at the time of said discharge therefrom, of at least of the value of $750. (seven hundred and fifty dollars) in money, which he regards a low valuation estimating her worth according to the value of her services, or the cost of hired labor of the same character—that said Mary was to the best of his knowledge and belief sound and vigorous at the date of her emancipation, although petitioner had heard it mentioned by a member of his family, that there was a supposed cast or defect in one of her eyes; yet the said petitioner never heard the said Mary complain of it, nor does it according to his belief injure the value of her services, for had the petitioner at any time within the last eighteen months preceding the said act been desirous of disposing of his claim to the services of the said Mary he would not have done so at as low a valuation as now presented
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 Mary Harrison into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Mary Harrison 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 Mary Harrison 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, the purchase by him having been made years before the commencement of the said rebellion
And your petitioner prays the said commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of his said claim to the service or labor of said Mary Harrison 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.
Jos. S Wilson
Washington County, ss.
I, Joseph S. Wilson 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 the several matters and things therein set forth and stated, as from the information of others, I believe to be true in substance and in fact.
Jos. S Wilson
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 11th day of July A. D. 1862.
Know all men by these presents, that I William H. Hager of Hagerstown, State of Maryland, of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of Three hundred and fifty dollars, lawful money of the United States, to me in hand paid, at or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, by Joseph S. Wilson of Washington City, and District of Columbia, of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have bargained and sold, and by these presents, to grant and convey, unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators and assigns, one colored girl, a Slave, named Mary Harrison. To have and To hold the said Mary Harrison unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators and assigns, for ever.—And I do for myself and my heirs executors and administrators, covenant and agree, to and with the said party of the second part, to warrant and defend the sale of the said Mary Harrison hereby sold, unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators and assigns, against all and every person and persons whomsoever.—In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fourth day of October one thousand eight hundred and fifty five.—
Wm. H. Hager seal
Signed sealed and delivered in presence of
Jno. L. Smith
Be it remembered, and it is hereby certified that on this 4th day of October 1855, before the Subscribers, Two Justices of the peace of the State of Maryland, in and for the said County, personally appeared William H. Hager, he being known to us of our own knowledge to be the person who is named and described as and professing to be a party to the foregoing Bill of Sale and doth acknowledge the said indenture or instrument of writing to be his act and deed—In Testimony whereof, we hereunto subscribe our names on the day and year aforesaid.
Jno. L. Smith
I hereby certify that J. Cook & Jno. L. Smith Esqres before whom the above acknowledgement was made, and who have thereunto subscribed their names, were at the time of so doing two Justices of the Peace of the State of Maryland, in and for said county, duly elected, commissioned and sworn.—
In testimony whereof, I hereunto Subscribe my name, and affix the seal of the Circuit Court for said County, this 4th day of October A.D. 1855.—
Isaac Nesbitt Clk