Records of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Relating to Slaves, 1851-1863.


National Archives Microfilm Publication M433, Roll 3
“Manumission Papers, 1857-1863.”

To the clerk of the court for the District of Columbia,

The bearer of this, Margaret Henson, desires to manumit her husband, Otho Henson, having received from his late owner a bill of sale for him which she will exhibit.

Having no experience in matters of this kind, I take the liberty to request that you will give Margaret the necessary instructions and assistance to make her husband a free man. She will pay the expenses incurred by the proceeding and I will thank you for your aid.

Very respectfully,
Your Obt. Sevt.
George E. Tingle

Know all men by these presents that I, Ben W. Keyser of Washington County in the District of Columbia for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars to me paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have and by these presents do bargain and sell and convey to Margaret Henson and her heirs, of the said District of Columbia, my Negro man servant Otho Henson, purchased by me from Susan Evans, relict of John Evans.

Witness my hand and seal this 20th day of October 1857.
Ben W. Keyser {seal}

Peter A. Reller

Know all men by these presents that I Margaret Henson (col’d) of Washington County, District of Columbia for divers good causes and considerations me thereunto moving, as well as in consideration of the sum of one dollar lawful money to me in hand paid at and before the unsealing and delivery hereof the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have released from slavery, liberated, manumitted and set free, and by them do hereby release from slavery, liberate, manumit and set free my husband Otho Henson, aged about forty four years—purchased by me from Ben W. Keyser and able to gain a sufficient livelihood and maintenance and him the said Otho I do hereby declare to be henceforth free and forever discharged from all manner of servitude or service to me by my heirs, executors and administrators.

In witness whereof I have hereto subscribed my name and affixed my seal on this twenty second day of October eighteen hundred and fifty seven.

Signed, Sealed & Del’d Margaret (X) Henson
in presence of H. Naylor

District of Columbia
Washington County to wit:

On this 22nd October 1857 before the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in and for said County and District personally appeared Margaret Henson party grantor in the foregoing deed of manumission, and acknowledged the same to be her act and deed.

Acknowledged before & certified
H. Naylor J. Peace