Title: Petition of Hugh McCormick, 19 July 1862
Date: July 19, 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.01087
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, Hugh McCormick of Washington 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 Ann Baxter, Louisa Bell, May Bell and George Bell, four persons of African descent of the names
of aforesaid for and during the li fves of said persons and that by said act of Congress said four persons named were 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 of and of the personal description following:(1) Ann Baxter is about 38 or 40 years old, dark complexion, and of medium size—Louisa Bell is about 34 years old, dark and of the medium size, May Bell is about 11 years old, dark and small for her age, and George Bell is about 7 years old and very light colored—
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said four persons in manner following:(2) The said Ann Baxter and Louisa Bell were acquired by your petitioners wife by inheritance from her Father the late George McCanley of this district, about 20 years ago, and they have been the property of your petitioner ever since; May and George Bell, the children of said Louisa Bell were born in your petitioners family as his slaves and as the issue of a slave mother—
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 2200 dollars in money.(3) Said Ann Baxter being worth $600, Louisa Bell $800 May Bell $500 and George Bell $300. Said Ann Baxter and Louisa Bell being excellent cooks, and Louisa Bell an accomplished washer and ironer, both being admirably trained in general housework—said May and George are intelligent and active children, and all said servants are healthy and valuable—Your petitioner knows of no mental, moral or physical infirmities in said persons to impair their value—
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 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 four persons w
asere 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.
Washington County ss.
On this 19th day of July 1862 personally appeared Richard H. Clarke of Washington City, before the undersigned Clerk to the Commissioners under the aforesaid Act of Congress and made oath in due form of law that Hugh McCormick a citizen of Washington and the owner of the four persons of African descent named in the foregoing and annexed petition, had on or about the 25th day of June 1862 prepared his said petition for compensation under said act of Congress, signed and duly made affidavit to the facts set forth in said petition, and that said Hugh McCormick either on the 25th or 26th day of June '62 placed said petitioner in the hands of this affiant to be by him filed for said claimant with the Commissioners according to law; that it was the intention of this affiant to file the same accordingly, and said claimant and said affiant, were under the most positive conviction and belief that said petition had been accordingly filed within the time specified by law, and remained under said conviction and belief up to the present time, only four days after the expiration of the time limited for filing such petitions; that it is now discovered to the great astonishment and regret of said affiant that at the time said petition was left with this affiant at his office, the same became by unaccountable accident mislaid and was not to be found among the papers in affiant's possession relating to similar subjects—thus the impression fastened itself on the mind of affiant that said petition had been duly filed and affiant remained under this impression and belief to the present time, this affiant having been uniformly careful and particular in punctually and carefully attending to all such matters of business entrusted to his care: and further affiant says that at the time said petition was left in his hands for filing as aforesaid his mind was unusually engrossed and continued so, until the last day for filing such petitions and on said last day when affiant would have carefully examined his cases & papers to ascertain if all petitions in his hands had been duly filed, he was visited by a sudden and apalling visitation of Providence in the sudden and untimely death of his office companion & associate the late John C C. Hamilton, whose death [obscured] tragic and painful circumstances attending it rendered affiant disqualified for business, and contributed to the fact of said petitions not having been duly filed. This affidavit is made in the hope that, the equitable circumstances of the case will be duly considered, that said petition may be taken as actually filed according to the law and that said claimant may not be injured in his application for compensation as aforesaid; and further affiant states that said petition having now come to light & found not to have been filed, has been immediately produced & tendered to be filed with said clerk
Richd H. Clarke
Subscribed and Sworn to by said Richard H. Clarke before me in presence of the Commissioners Saturday July 19, 1862
Wm R Woodward clk
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Hugh McCormick 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 25th day of June A. D. 1862.
F. I. Murphey J. P.
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.