Title: Petition of Columbus Alexander, 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.00893
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, Columbus Alexander of Washington, DC 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 fifteen persons of African descent of the name of Beverly Davis,—Nancy Holms Thomas Holms—Arena Holms—Jefferson D. Holms—Maria Bowman—Josephine Bowman—Frank Diggs—George Singleton—John Wesley (sometimes called John Wesley Holms")—Wesley Holms—Betty Hopp—Eliza Jones Lucy Jones—John Jones and Stephen Holms 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 Beverly Davis—a male person was of the age of Twenty-five years, or thereabout. and of the personal description following:(1) Black Complexion. Medium Size or about five feet, Eight inches high, likely and intelligent. Nancy Holms—a female—was of the age of Twenty five years, or thereabouts—Copper Color,—about five feet high—likely and intelligent. Thomas Holms, a male, was of the age of Six years or thereabouts—Copper color about three feet high—likely and intelligent; Arena Holms, Female—was of the age of Twenty three years or thereabouts. Copper color—about five feet high—likely and intelligent; Jefferson D. Holms—Male—was of the age of one year or thereabout. Copper Color or Mulatto,—about two feet high. likely and intelligent; Maria Bowman Female—was of the age of Eighteen years, or thereabout. Black Complexion—about four feet, nine inches high, likely and intelligent; Josephine Bowman—Female—was of the age of Two years, or thereabout, Bright Mulatto—about two feet, Seven inches high—likely and intelligent; Frank Diggs. Male—was of the age of Twenty one years, or thereabouts. Black Complexion—Medium size; or about five feet, nine (9) inches high—likely and intelligent: George Singleton. Male—was of the age of Twenty five years, or thereabout. Black Complexion—thick lips—Medium Size—or about five feet, eight inches high likely and intelligent; John Wesley (Male) was of the age of Twenty one yrs, or thereabout,—dark Copper Color or inclined to black—marked with the small Pox.—about five feet six inches high—likely and intelligent: Betty Hopp (Female.) Black Complexion—was of the age of Seventy years, or thereabouts—of low Stature—Complains of defective eye-sight. Eliza Jones: (Female.) was of the age of Thirty five years, or thereabout, of a Black complexion—low Stature—about four feet, nine inches high—likely and intelligent: Lucy Jones. was of the age of Six years, or thereabouts, of a black complexion—likely and intelligent: John Jones. was of the age of one year, or thereabouts, of a dark Copper Color—well formed for its size, and age, intelligent: Stephen Holms. (child of Nancy Holms) was of the age of one year or thereabout; a bright mulatto, well formed for his age.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said fifteen Persons in manner following:(2) Beverly—sometimes called "Beverly Davis"—herein before mentioned—was purchased on the 29th day of July 1858 from Lewis Warrington—the consideration paid for him was $800 as by reference the Receipt for the purchase money herewith filed "Marked A" will appear. Nancy Holms and Thomas Holms—her child—were purchased of Philip Mackey, the consideration paid for them including child Maria-Louise deceased,—was $1200. as by reference to the Land & Chattel records of the District of Columbia—in Liber J. A. S. No. 17 & fols 174 — 175. for bill of Sale—the Samebearing date June 6th 1859. will fully appear. Arena Holms was purchased of John Waters on the 12th day of September A.D. 1857 the Consideration paid for her was $189 41/100—and to perfect the Title, a Bill of Sale was also executed and delivered to this Petitioner by Philip Mackey—the said last mentioned Bill of Sale bearing date the 14th day of Septr 1857. the consideration expressed in the last Bill of Sale is $926. and your Petitioner refers to the said Bills of Sale—duly recorded in Liber J. A. S. No. 141 folios 420 & 455 one of the Land & Chattel Records of the District of Columbia & it will more fully and at large appear. Jefferson D Holms—child of Arena Holms—passes under the Bills of Sale above mentioned. Maria Bowman was purchased of Dr. Johnson Elliot the 14th day of February 1855.—the consideration paid for her was $300.—and your Petitioner files herewith the Bill of Sale for said Maria marked the same being duly recorded in Liber J.A.S. No. 94 folio 4. one of the Land and Chattel records of the District of Columbia. Josephine Bowman—child of said Maria Bowman transferred and vested in your Petitioner by widow of the above mentioned Bill of Sale transferring the mother. Frank Diggs was purchased by your Petitioner, on the 9th day of April 1852 from Wm J Duvall—the consideration paid for him was $500. And your Petitioner files herewith the Bill of Sale and Receipt for said Diggs—and said Consideration and prays that the same may be read and considered as a part of this Petition marked No. 7 George Singleton, was purchased by your Petitioner on the 23rd day of Feby. 1836, from the late Major Wm B Scott. & Ann his wife—the consideration paid for him was $600. And Your Petitioner herewith files Bill of sale for said George duly executed &c. Marked No. 8 and prays that the same may be recd. and considered as a part of this Petition. John Wesley (sometimes called John Welesy Holms—and Wesley Holms.) was purchased by your Petitioner on the 8th day of April 1858. the consideration paid for him was $825—And your—Petitioner begs leave to refer to the Land & Chattel record of the City of Washington Liber J A.S. No 152 folios 364–365–366—Being a Bill of sale from Jacob F King Constable and Philip Mackey, bearing date April 10th 1858. Betty Hopp, was purchased by Petitioner from Wm H. Grinnell March 1st 1844.—the consideration paid for her was $80.—and your Petitioner files herewith Bill of sale and receipt marked Exhibit No. 10 and prays &c. Eliza Jones, was purchased from the Estate of a deceased Relation by Petitioner—and has been in his possession some 12 or 15 years.—the consideration paid for her was $600—Lucy Jones & John Jones—children of Eliza Jones (above mentioned.) born while in the possession of your Petitioner and raised by him—an passing under the purchase of the mother as aforesaid. Stephen Holms the son of Nancy Holms passes to your Petitioner under and by virtue of the instrument above referred to transferring the said mother—and by virtue of the Law applicable.—
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 $13,850 dollars in money.(3)as follows: Beverly Davis, is a most excellent and handy servant. Your Petitioner has never seen his equal at any thing he has employed him to do—He is an elegant dining room servant—a good Carriage driver—Hostler—ploughman & mower—he can cook scour & scrub—is a faithful and trustworthy man—and is highly prized by your Petitioner. as being one of the best Servants he has ever met with—Your Petitioner under the circumstances finds it difficult to name a price on one so useful and valuable. not less that $2000. a nominal price. (See B. B [annexd contin?]
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 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 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 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 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. But your Petitioner declares that nothing herein contained may operate to exclude or defer him from
(Signed by) applying to Congress, at any future day for such further compensation or claim as under all the circumstances, he may conceive himself entitled to.
- Nancy Holms, is a good cook and washes and irons well, and can command good wages at any time. Valued at $1200.
- Thomas Holms—Son of said Nancy, is a smart active boy. Valued at $600.
- Stephen Holms, Son of said Nancy, is a bright healthy child—valued at $300.
- Arena Holms, is a very useful woman, can cook wash and iron well. valued at $1200.
- Jefferson D Holms—Son of said Arena Holms—is a bright; healthy child, valued at $300.
- John Wesley, sometimes called "John Wesley Holms" & "Wesley Holms", is a hardworking, industrious, man, he has been accustomed to driving a cart. Valued at $1200.
- Maria Bowman—is an excellent house keeper—She is a good Cook and washer & irons well.—She is active and useful generally valued at $1200.
- Josephine Bowman—daughter of Maria Bowman—is a sprightly healthy child—valued at $350.
- Frank Diggs—is a good Engineer, having been accustomed to run a Steam Engine in the Printing establishment of your Petitioner for Several years—He is also a good field hand—can plough mow—Cradle &c.—is a good wagoner & Hostler—cook well—valued at $1800.
- George Singleton—is an excellent field hand—Can plough mow, Cradle—is a good Hostler and Wagoner—Can also Cook—valued at $1500.
- Betty Hopp—is not very valuable—rather old, and complains of want of sight—or defective vision—though she could be made useful, in taking care of young children. Valued at $100.
- Eliza Jones, is a valuable House help—is an excellent Cook, washer & irons well, and in the Judgment of your Petitioner is a Superior hand at any thing connected with house-keeping. Valued at $1200.
- Lucy Jones—daughter of Eliza Jones is a sprightly, healthy, active child
- valued at $600.
- John Jones—Son of Eliza Jones—is a sprightly, healthy child, valued at $300.
All of the said persons (excepting the old woman Betty Hopp who is suffering with the infirmities of age.) are of good general health and morals—according to the best of your Petitioners knowledge and belief.
And your Petitioner knows of no moral, mental, or bodily infirmities, or defects of any kind in any of said persons, except as herein before stated concerning the old woman Betty Hopp—and he believes none other to exist.
Received of Columbus Alexander eight hundred dollars being payment in full for the purchase of a negro man named "Beverly" The Right and title of the Said man "Beverly" I Warrant and defend against the claim or claims of all persons whatsoever and likewise warrant him Sound and healthy in body and mind, and a Slave for life—Given under my hand and seal the date above written
Lewis Warrington seal
Walter. O. Alexander
Columbus Alexander Bought of William T. Duvall one Negro boy called Frank Diggs for the Sum of five hundred dollars, the Receipt hereof I hereby acknowledge, & which Said boy I warrant to be free of all incumbrance & a Slave for life.
William T. Duvall
Know all men by these presents, that we, William B. Scott and Ann Scott his wife, of the City of Washington and District of Columbia, for and in consideration of the sum of six hundred dollars, to us in hand paid by Columbus Alexander, Jr., of the same place, do hereby sell, transfer and make over to the said Columbus Alexander, Jr., a negro Boy called George Singleton aged nineteen years or thereabouts, the said boy George Singleton being black, and medium size, a slave for life, which boy George Singleton we represent to the said Columbus Alexander, Jr., to be our Just and lawful property, and free from encumbrance of every kind whatsoever; and we do hereby warrant and defend to the said Columbus Alexander, Jr., against the claim of us, the said William B. Scott and Ann his wife, and against the claim of all and every other person claiming the same, and will forever warrant and defend the same.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and affixed our seals this Twenty third day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six.
Wm. B. Scott (Seal.)
Ann Scott (Seal.)
Sealed and delivered and possession delivered in presence of
Jas. T. Scott
Rec. of Columbus Alexander Eighty dollars which I warrant a slave for life named Betty Hop which woman I warrant to defend from all claims that may be made hereafter March 1, 1844
W. H. Grinnell
Rec. of C. Alexander all sums paid Betty for wages up to this date Mch 1, 1844
W. H. Gunnell
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Columbus Alexander 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.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 10th day of July A. D. 1862.
Chas. Walter J. P. seal
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.