Title: Petition of Ann H. Cunningham, 15 December 1862
Date: December 15, 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.01089
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, Mrs Ann. H. Cunningham of California by this her petition in writing, represents and states, that she 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 persons of African descent of the names of Ann Blow and Anthony Blow her son for and during the life of said Ann Blow and Anthony Blow and that by said act of Congress said Ann Blow and Anthony Blow 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 Ann Blow was was of the age of 40 years and Anthony Blow of the age of thirteen years and of the personal description following:(1) Ann Blow is of medium height very stout and of a very dark complexion—her son Anthony Blow is rather tall for his age very dark and has not the faculty of speach
That your petitioner acquired her claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said Ann and Anthony Blow in manner following:(2) Ann Blow was born in the family of petitioner was given to her on the occasion of her marriage in 1827 by her Father and that she has ever since been her property, and that Anthony the Boy was born while she the petitioner still owned and held the mother and thus became her property.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said Ann and Anthony Blow was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of (she thinks) fifteen hundred dollars in money.(3) Ann was a good cook and could earn as wages from Ten to Twelve Dollars per month she was in good health very active and at one time could have been sold for probably Twelve hundred Dollars, that Anthony Blow was a smart active boy but was unable to speak—
Your petitioner hereby declares that she bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that she 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 she has not brought said negroes into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said negroes 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said negroes 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 her said claim to the service or labor of said Ann and Anthony Blow 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.
Ann. H. Cunningham
W. O. Andrews
Wm L Duncan
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
I, Ann H. Cunningham 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.
Ann. H. Cunningham
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 21st day of June A. D. 1862.
W. O. Andrews
City and County of San Francisco S.S.
I Washington Bartlett County Clerk of the Court of San Francisco do hereby certify that W. O. Andrews whose genuine signature is affixed to the foregoing affidavit was at the time of signing the same a Notary Public duly authorized by law to administer oaths and c— and that full faith and credit are due to all his official acts as such—Given under my hand and the seal of said Court this 21st day of June 1862
The Claimant in this case, Mrs Ann H. Cunningham, by Wm. B. Webb, and Seaton Munroe, her attorneys, submits the following statement, in support of her claim herewith presented.
As will be found on examination of the proceedings of the Commissioners, the said claimant has complied with all the provisions of the Act excepting one, to wit: the filing of the accompanying schedule within the time specified by the terms of the Act, which defect it is hoped may be cured by a brief statement of the attendant circumstances.
The said Claimant is the widow of the late Captain Cunningham of the United States Navy, and has resided for several years, and still does reside in the City of San Francisco California, whither she accompanied her late husband when he was ordered to the command of the Navy Yard at that place. On her departure from Washington, she left resident therein her two slaves Ann and Anthony Blow, described in the schedule, who have since appeared before the Commissioners and been identified, and who were here resident at the time of the passage of the Emancipation Act.
Immediately upon being advised of the passage of the said act, the said claimant communicated with her friends in this City, desiring information as to the proper course to be taken by her to secure the compensation for which the act provided. In response, the necessary blanks, with instructions were forwarded to her by mail at San Francisco, when she promptly executed the necessary instruments, and returned them by mail to her attorneys in this City This was subsequent to the time fixed by the Act for filing the schedule, but the claim was received and filed, and the schedule was received though not placed on file in due form.
The said slaves were then taken before the Commissioners who appraised them, and before whom satisfactory evidence was given and placed upon record, as to the identity of the slaves, and as to the ownership and loyalty of the claimant. It is hoped and believed that the consideration of these explanatory circumstances may place the case upon the footing of a valid claim, as every effort was made through the ordinary channels of communication, that is to say the U. S. Mail, to have the requisite schedule executed and placed on file in the required time. In view of these circumstances, the claimant is encouraged to hope that the Commissioners will, if this claim is not to be admitted within the strict provision of the Act which appropriated the sum for compensation, place it within the scope of such legislation as Congress may extend to cases of that nature.
Wm B Webb
Attorneys for Claimant
City of Philadelphia S. S.
I, C. H. Poor a Capt in the Navy of the United States being duly sworn do hereby certify that Mrs Ann H Cunningham is a sister of my wife and that I have known her for thirty years. I have not seen her since the commencement of the rebellion but judge from letters received from her that she is opposed to the Rebellion and her sentiments indicate loyalty to the Government of the United States
C. H. Poor
Mattie S. Poor
County of Philadelphia, ss.
I Charles D Knight Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of said County, Do Certify, that Francis Campbell before whom the annexed affidavit was made, was at the time, and now is an Notary Public
Alderman and ex officio Justice of the Peace of the City of Philadelphia, duly commissioned and qualified to administer oaths and affirmations, and to take acknowledgements, &c., and to all whose acts, as such, full faith and credit are and ought to be given, as well in Courts of Judicature as elsewhere. & that his signature thereto is genuine
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Seal of said Court, this 31st day of October A. D. 1862
Chs D Knight Prothonotary.
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.