Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Working on Wednesday: William R. Phillips (1818-1890), Merchant - The Presidential Pardon Application, August 1865

On May 29, 1865, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation that affected William R. Phillips among others in the South.
[U. S. President. Andrew Johnson. Prest. Johnson's amnesty proclamation ... Done at the city of Washington, the twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five ... Andrew Johnson. Washington, 1865. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed January 10, 2017.)]

Because he had claimed real and personal estates of more than $20,000 in the 1860 U.S. Census, William R. Phillips was among the people forced to apply to President Andrew Johnson for a pardon after the end of the Civil War in order to retain possession of his property.

[Year: 1860; Census Place: District 1001, Spalding, Georgia; Roll: M653_136; Page: 194; Image: 196; Family History Library Film: 803136. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009.
Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.]

Here it is.**

Head Quarters Department of Georgia
     Augusta, Ga  Aug.21st. 1865
William R Phillips
Newton Co Ga
Respectfully asks for pardon under excep-
tions No. 13 
of President Johnson's proclamation.
Sept 16/65
Head Quarters Department of Georgia
      Augusta, Ga  Aug.21st. 1865
   Respectfully referred to His Excellency JAMES
JOHNSON, Governor of the State of Georgia, for
investigation and report as to the merits of the
within case, and for his recommendation as to
final action.
   These papers to be returned with the report
and recommendation.
   By command of 
Maj. 18th O.V. I., & Ass't. Pro. Mar. Gen D.G.
Worth over $20,000
Head Quarters Department of Georgia
      Augusta, Ga  Sept 5  1865   
   Respectfully forwarded to the Attorney Gen-
eral U.S., at Washington City.

       James B. Steedman  
              Maj. Gen'l. Commd'g. Dep't. Ga.

Wm R. Phillips
Newton Factory
     Newton Co
Application for
          Executive Offices
Provisional Govt of Geo
Milledgeville, Aug 26th=1865
Respectfully returned to
Maj. Genl. Jas B. Steedman.
I recommend pardon
& amnesty for the within
applicant as I am sat
-isfied the statements in
his petition are correct, &
that he will prove a good
loyal & useful citizen
   J Johnson
  Prov Gov of Ga

Received from
Department of Justice
December 18, 1894
R. & P. 402985****

And now we turn to the pages of the William R's actual petition in which he explained what he had been doing for the past few years.

State of Georgia   }   To his Excellency Andrew
Newton County    }   Johnson Prest of the U.S.
of America,
     The Petition of William R. Phillips a
citizen of the County & State aforesaid Sheweth
that he was about Forty three Years of age
at the beginning of the late Rebelion he was a business
man and believed no cause had transpired that
justified Secession and used his influence to 
prevent said ^State^ from seceeding, your Petitioner
was never in the confederate service; But
after the conscript act was extended so as
to embrace men of his age he was elected
to an office in the Militia Service, and subseq
-ently called into service in Mary 1864, and
when he reported was assigned to duty in the
State department, where he remained
only about Ten days and made applica-
-tion and obtained an indefinite Furlough
agreeing to manufacture Ten Thousand 
of woollen Plains[?] for the State only a
part being furnished on account of the

State failing to get Transportation for wool
to the Factory of your petitioner who on this
furlough remained out of service during
the rebellion, Your petitioner further sheweth
that believing as he did that he ought not
to act treacherously to his State and in
order to retain his operatives in his Factory
he contracted to furnish two thirds of his cotton
goods to the ^so called^ conf'd Government, Your Petitioner makes
makes this application for pardon under your Exelen-
cys proclamation which excludes all persons
who are worth over Twenty thousand dollars
from taking the oath of allegiance and amnesty
restoring them to citizenship under the Government
of the U.S. without Special pardon from your
Excellency and showeth that no proceedings have
been instituted against any of his property under
the confiscation act and that he has no property
in the U.S. Government as abandoned, Your peitioner
pledges himself to aid and che[e]rfully support the
U.S. Government in the restoration of the Law and
order to the extent of his power and influence
and prays that he may be pardoned for what
may be regarded as errors and offences against

the U.S. Government
                                              In the foregoing peti
tion Specifications your petitioner will
every pray &c                       William R. Phillips
State of Georgia    } Personally came before me the
Fulton County       } undersigned cause[?] William R.
Phillips, who being duly sworn saith that ^the^ facts
set forth in the foregoing petition are true to the 
best of his knowledge and belief and that
they contain a full history of his conduct
during the rebellion, sworn to and subscribed
before me this 15th day of August 1865
Daniel Pittman Ordy         William R. Phillips
State of Georgia    } Personally came before me, Littleberry B.
Fulton County       } Phillips and David M. Flanders
who being sworn saith that they are ^know^ and have known
William R. Phillips the petitioner intimately for a
long time and believe him to be a reliable and trust
-worthy citizen and that the facts set forth in his 
petition are true to the best of their knowledge
and belief, sworn to this and subscribed this
15th day of August 1865          LB Phillips
Daniel Pittman Ordy                    DM Flanders

As part of the process William R. Phillips signed a loyalty oath in Atlanta on the same day.*****

[ Confederate Applications for Presidential Pardons, 1865-1867 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Case Files of Applications From Former Confederates for Presidential Pardons (“Amnesty Papers”) 1865-1867; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1003, 73 rolls); Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.]

There you have William R.'s sworn account of what he did during the late rebellion. Next week we'll take a look at how he fared after the war.

*You can read the gist of Johnson's Amnesty Proclamation here.
**At first I wasn't certain that his pardon application was included in Ancestry's online database because there were two William Phillips from Georgia who applied for presidential pardon and that of the "other" William Phillips was first. Also this William R. Phillips was stated to be a resident of Newton County instead of Macon. However reading through the documents I noticed the names of David M[itchell] Flanders, the husband of William R.'s daughter Laura Calphurnia Phillips, Littleberry B[ostick] Phillips, either his uncle or his half-brother, so I'm confident that we have the right man's application.
***Since I have a lot of Chappell kin when I saw this man's name I wondered if he could somehow be related--after a lot of vain effort I still don't know if he is but here's what I found about this Major in an Ohio regiment.
****If for any reason you should happen to be curious about this text you can find some information about it here.
*****Note that here we have Daniel Pittman's title spelled out in full. I haven't been able to discover what "Ordinary" refers to in this context but records show that he was a clerk of the Superior Court in Fulton County at some point.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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