Title: Petition of John A. Dorsey, 29 October 1862
Date: October 29, 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.01093
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, John A. Dorsey of Howard Co. Md. 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 two male persons of African descent of the names of Nelson Douglass, and Luther Watkins, for and during the lifes of said Nelson and Luther and that by said act of Congress said Nelson and Luther 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 Nelson and Luther were of the ages of twenty five and twenty two years respectively, and of the personal description following:(1) Nelson Douglass, 25 or 26 years of age, six feet high, copper color, stout made, healthy and strong. Luther Watkins, about 22 years of age, five feet 10 inches high, black color, stout made, healthy and strong. note.—Nelson absconded from my farm in June 1861, and came to Washington—and Luther absconded in August 1862, and I suppose they are both now here, altho' I have not found them and cannot produce them. I am willing that they shall both have the benefit of the provisions of the above Act, and think my claim for their value ought to be allowed.
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said two persons in manner following:(2) By inheritance. Nelson I inherited from my Father—and Luther was the property of my Wife by inheritance from her Father. I know of no public record of Nelson—but think Luther is named in the Will of my Wife's Father, Samuel Banks, recorded in Howard County, Maryland.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said two persons was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of (as follows)— dollars in money.(3) Nelson Douglass—Seventeen hundred dollars ($1700.) Luther Watkins, Seventeen hundred dollars, ($1700.)—
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 Nelson and Luther into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said Nelson & Luther was held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor, except as before stated.
Your petitioner further states and alleges, that his said claim to the service or labor of said Nelson and Luther 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 Nelson and Luther 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.
John A. Dorsey
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, John A. Dorsey, 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.
John A. Dorsey
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 28th day of October, A. D. 1862.
Edm. F. Brown Notary Public
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.