More Compensated Emancipation Petitions Posted

Since the beginning of April, we have published more than 80 additional compensated emancipation petitions on Civil War Washington. This group of documents includes the petition of Edmund and Cora Fitzhugh, who, with the help of Robert Bowie, filed their claim for compensation from the Territory of Washington.

Also included in this batch, is the petition of Margaret C. Barber, whose claim seeks compensation for 34 persons who were freed by the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. According to the commissioners’ final report, Barber received $9,351.30 in compensation for 33 slaves. She received no compensation for one slave, Samuel Yates, by whose name “no value” appears in the final report. This petition provides an example of the kinds of claims which were denied by the commissioners because, as Kenneth J. Winkle describes, the former slaves were deemed “too infirm to merit compensation.”[i]

~Janel Cayer

[i] For more on the history of these petitions, see Kenneth J. Winkle, “Emancipation Petitions: Historical Contexts” available on Civil War Washington. See

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