Title: Petition of James Selden, 12 July 1862

Date: July 12, 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.00909

TEI/XML: cww.00909.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, James Selden of Washington City 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 [no handwritten text supplied here] persons of African descent of the name of Jim, George, Charlotte, Anne, Anne's children—namely Louisa, Jim, and John Lincoln, Eliza, the wife of Robert Carter (cold)​ and Susan, for and during the life of said persons of Africa​ descent, 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 Jim was of the age of about fifty seven years and of the personal description following:(1) of ordinary color of negroes, very stout, strong and active, but of low stature, and a superior farming hand, worth $500. George, about the same color of Jim, about twenty seven years old, tall stout and active, a fine house servant and carriage driver, worth $1500. Charlotte, about the same color, about sixty years old, a good cook, washerwoman and nurse, but of low statue​, worth $250. Anne, worth $500, the wife of Jim, of a dark color, strong, compact and well formed, a good cook, chamber maid and nurse, about forty two years old, & the mother of Louisa, (who when the deed of trust from ColWm Selden for the benefit of LtGeo L Selden was made was a sucking baby) a very superior child, like her father Jim, about eight years old now, and worth $400. Jim, the son of Jim and Anne, about four years old, and John Lincoln son of said Jim and Anne, born a few days only before   the Act of 16 April 1862 was passed: the two boys worth about $350. Eliza, a mulatto woman about fifty seven years old, a [superior cook?], nurse &c worth $400. And Susan, a mulatto woman about forty years old, strong & well formed, worth $600.

That your petitioner acquired [no handwritten text supplied here] claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said persons in manner following:(2) About ten years ago, colo[illegible] Willm Seldon, of Washington City, borrowed seven thousand dollars of LtGeo L. Selden now in the UState Navy, and, in 1855, gave to the said Geo L. Selden's trustees, of whom your Petitioner is the only acting one, a deed of trust upon the persons described in this Petition, to [secure?] to the said Geo. L Selden payment of the debt: as will appear by that deed, an extract from which, headed Wm Selden & wife to [Nutt?], McLean & Selden, and no I is herewith filed, duly certified.

It is proper to state that through neglect or [inadvertence​?] the name of the woman Susan was not stated in the conveyance, though she was then held and owned by ColSelden, who intended then and desires now that she shall be subject to the said G. L Selden's [lien?], as will appear by his certificate here filed No 2

That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said slaves or servants was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of four thousand dollars in money.(3)That your Petitioner is not aware of any defects of infirmities in any of the said slaves or servants, and does not believe that any exists.

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 slaves, or persons, or any of them, into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said slaves or persons 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 slaves or 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 slaves or 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.

It is thought that George, one of the servants deeded in trust has gone off, and cannot be found.
(Signed by)
Wm Selden
James Selden,
as Trustee for Geo. L. Selden
No 2
Wm Selden's

This is to certify that through inadvertince​ merely the name of Susan, (a mulatto woman about forty or forty two years old, whom I purchased of Mrs Anne Safford, of Wood County, Virginia, and who got her from the estate of her brother GenlAlexander Hunter, once Marshal of this District) was not included within the deed of trust to which, in 1855, I executed to MessrsNutt, McLean & Selden, to secure to LtGeo Loyall Selden, the payment of seven thousand dollars, with interest, which money I owed him, and for which I have given him my Bond

And, inasmuch as I then owned Susan, had here in my possession here, and had promised to convey my slaves generally, so I always considered myself bound in honor to give to LtSelden and his trustees the same right and title to Susan that they had to the other slaves. And my desire is now that in any action of the commissioners upon the Petition which LtSelden, or any one for him, may present to the Commissioners under the act of the 16 of April last, they may dispose of Susan as a part of the slaves that Lieutenant held valid right to

Wm Selden
James Selden,

It is proper to state that George, too, one of the servants, conveyed in trust to LtSelden's trustees has lately gone away to parts unknown, and can not be produced

Wm Selden,
No I
Wm Selden & wife Extract from [illegible] of Trust
Wm. D. Nutt
Anthony McLean
& James Selden
[illegible] & Extract $1.00
William Selden & wife
William D. Nutt
Anthony McLean
& James Selden
Deed of Trust
dated the 24th of March 1855.

Conveying to the said parties of the Second part, and the Survivors or Survivor of them his heirs and assigns all those [pieces?] or parcels of land lying and being in the County of Washington and District of Columbia, being part of the property Known as the Old [Racefield?], and owned by William Holmead, which pieces of land containing in all about Seventy acres more or less were purchased from the said William Holmead and his wife, and from Charles Payne and his wife, as will more fully appear by reference to their deeds to the said William Selden recorded among the Land Records of said Washington and being the same place where the said William Selden has for several summers lately resided.—

And the said parties of the first part have in Consideration of the Sum of   of five dollars to them in hand paid by the said parties of the second part, the receipt of which they do hereby acknowledge, have granted bargained and sold and delivered, and by these presents do grant bargain sell and deliver unto the said parties of the second part and the Survivors or Survivor of them, his Executors administrators and assigns, all and Singular all the Stock, poultry, Slaves and farming utensils now on the place, Consisting of one Bay horse, one bay mare, one Sorrel Mare and one Sorrel filley​, and all and Singular the goods and Chattels, household Stuff, furniture and Kitchen utensils, One negro man named Jim, about fifty years old, George a negro man about twenty years old; Charlotte a negro woman about Sixty years old; Charlotte a mulatto woman about Sixty five years old; Ann a black woman about thirty five years old with her sucking baby, and Eliza, a mulatto woman about fifty years old, the wife of Robert Carter, and all Slaves for life. To Have and To Hold the said pieces and parcels of land and promises [within?] the [appurtenances?], and all and Singular all the said goods and chattels, stock, poultry, furniture and slaves unto and to the use &c &c—

In Trust, to secure the payment of seven Thousand dollars to George L. Selden of   the United States Navy, borrowed money.

True Extract
Test​. Jno. A. Smith, Clk
Liber J. A. S. No. 94 Fol.​ 46, &c

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

I, James Selden, Trustee for Geo L Selden, 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)
Jas. Selden,
Wm Selden

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of July A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
[L. S. S. Stead?]
J. P.

Subscribed and sworn to by William Selden before me this 26th day of December AD 1862

Wm R. Woodward
clerk &c
James Selden
Trustee for
George L. Selden
Filed July 12, 1862

 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: Janel Cayer, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Kenneth M. Price.