RG-4. RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL
The Office of the Comptroller General was created in 1782 to audit, liquidate and adjust Commonwealth accounts. After settlement, all public accounts were submitted to the Supreme Executive Council for approval. If satisfied, the council drew warrants upon the state treasurer for their payment. In 1785, appeals were allowed to the Supreme Court from the settlement of accounts by the comptroller general after the settlement had been transmitted to the Supreme Executive Council. In 1789, the comptroller general was required to submit for inspection and examination all accounts to be adjusted to the newly created Register General’s Office and to take his advice and assistance in settling these accounts. The following year the duties of the two offices were reversed in that all accounts, except those specifically assigned for examination by the state treasurer, were to be examined and adjusted by the register general and then submitted to the comptroller general for his advice and approval. Under specific legislation passed in 1791 all responsibilities not inconsistent with the Constitution of 1790 for the final settlement of accounts, previously assigned to the Supreme Executive Council, were transferred to the governor. Changes were also made in 1791 in the procedures for adjusting accounts so that the comptroller general and register general had to submit accounts to the governor for final approval where they differed in opinion. When they agreed, only the balance due on each account had to be certified to the governor. Though further modifications in the methods of adjusting and settling accounts were made, it was not until 1809 that the Office of the Comptroller General was abolished and its duties transferred to the auditor general and state treasurer.
Pierce’s Certificate Accounts, Consisting of Pay Roll Books, Voucher Indexes, Ownership Certificates, and an Account of Certificates Loaned to the United States, Signed by John Pierce and Relating to the Issuance of Interest Bearing Certificates to the Pennsylvania Line, [ca. 1784-1793]. (3 volumes, 1 box)
• Pay Roll Book, Volume A, 1778-1883, contains entries for the following African Americans: John Francis, Stace Williams, and Cezar Negro. The entries include the following date issued, certificate number and letter, name, amount of payment, and signature or mark.
• Pay Roll Book, Index for Volumes A and B, lists the names of the following African American Revolutionary War soldiers: Levi Burns, 10th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment; John Francis, Epple’s Company, 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment; and Stace Williams, Humphrey’s Company, 6th Pennsylvania Regiment. In addition to the soldiers’ names this volume provides the number of payments and the amounts to be paid.
• Pay Roll Book, Volume B, 1778-1883, includes an entry for African American Levi Burns, giving the same information as cited for Volume A.
Revolutionary War Associators, Line, Militia, and Navy Accounts, and Miscellaneous Records Relating to Military Service, 1775-1809. (99 boxes)
Navy Accounts, 1775-1794. (6 boxes) Grouped according to stations of duty, and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of record. Muster and pay rolls that usually give the name, rank, station and pay rate of the sailor, the period of his service, and the dates of his entry and discharge or desertion. The age of the individual is occasionally recorded as well. Included in this series are muster rolls for the various vessels that were a part of the Pennsylvania Navy, 1776-1780. Among the African Americans included on these muster rolls are "Negro Prince" and "Negro Charles," who are listed as serving on the Ranger commanded by John Marshall and "Negro Caesar," a drummer for Commander Thomas Houston, who served on the Warren.
Revolutionary War Pension Files and Related Accounts, 1785-1809. (8 boxes, 5 volumes) A record documenting pensions paid to Pennsylvania veterans of the Revolutionary War. This group of records includes the following materials: Pension File, 1785-1809; Pension Index Book A, 1790-1791; Pension Indexes to [Books] 1 and 2; Pension Ledger, Book 1, 1785-1789; Pension Ledger, Book B, 1790-1793, including index; and Pension Ledger, Book C, 1794-1804, including an alphabetical index prepared for reference purposes. The Index to Pension Ledger, Book 1, 1785-1789 is arranged alphabetically by surname of pensioner. An incomplete record of disabled line and militia soldiers granted pensions on orders from the orphans’ court under the Act of September 22, 1785. Entries usually provide the name, age, rank and corps of soldier; the period of the pension; the amount of pension received; and a brief statement of how, when, and where the disability occurred.
Related Pension Accounts. Arranged alphabetically by surname of pensioner. Miscellaneous documents relating to Revolutionary War veterans’ pensions. Included is a reference to the pension of an African American by the name of John Francis. According to the certificate, John Francis was "a Negro man aged about fifty years . . . [who] had both his legs injured at the Battle of Brandywine on the 11th September 1777," entitling him to receive a pension of three dollars a month for one year.
Tax and Exoneration Lists, 1762-1801. (47 boxes) Arranged by county, and thereunder according to political subdivision. The surnames appearing on the lists are grouped alphabetically by first letter. Lists consisting of diverse data acquired from tax (supply taxes, carriage and billiard table taxes, property returns, etc.) and exoneration returns for Allegheny, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland, and York Counties. Depending upon the year and the type of returns, these dated lists provide such information as the name of the taxpayer, place of residence (county and township) and the type of trade in which engaged, the number of acres and type (patent, warrant, and improved) of land possessed, the number of cattle, horses and slaves owned, the tax rate, and the tax assessment. Frequently the lists also indicate whether the individual was a single free man and the valuations of distilleries, sawmills, and gristmills. Listings of slaves are found in some of the counties, including Berks, Bucks, and Cumberland.
PORT OF PHILADELPHIA RECORDS
Bonds and Papers Relating to Duties on Negro and Mulatto Slaves, 1720-1788. (1 folder) Arranged chronologically. This series documents the duties that were paid on "negro" and "mulatto" slaves imported to the City of Philadelphia. Information provided in these records includes the name of the owner(s) and the collector, the amount of duty paid, any interest incurred, and the date of the contract. Occasionally, the name of the slave is also given. These papers were originally prepared by an agent of the British crown until the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania assumed this responsibility after the Revolutionary War.
Records of the Wardens of the Port, 1776-1809. (2 boxes) Arranged chronologically by date of entry. Included in these records are accounts of work performed and the number of days charged for the board of employees at the port. The following account information pertains to African Americans:
• The accounts of Abraham Hargis for work performed on February 26, 1784 show that "Negroe Peter" was due sixteen shillings. On August 26, 1784, "Negro Jack" was listed as being due one pound and the entry ends with the statement "charge for Negro Peter getting firewood not allowed."
• The accounts for Abraham Hargis for boarding his workers in 1784 contain the following "Negro Cooper, 2 weeks; Negro Sampson, 2 days; Negro Peter, 4 days; Hired Negroes, 1 week, 2 days; board for Mr. Hazard’s Negro, 2 weeks, 4 days; and board of Negro Jack, 2 weeks, 2 days." A similar account for boarded Negroes in 1784 is signed by John Pearson.
• The accounts for the contingent expenses of government for 1784 under David Rittenhouse include the following for April 26: "Negro Hampshire for sweeping the office, earned seven shillings, 6 pence." An entry for May 26 shows Hampshire earned fifteen shillings for attending the office and an entry for November 23 reveals he earned seven shillings and 6 pence for sweeping the office and fifteen shillings and 6 pence for attending the office.
Registers of Duties Paid on Imported Goods, 1781-1787. (6 volumes) Arranged chronologically by import date. Recorded at the port of Philadelphia, an entry usually gives the name of the vessel’s master, the port of origin, the value of the goods imported, the name of the importer, and the duty paid. A brief description of the cargo also appears in most cases. Many of the ships transported either free or enslaved "Negroes" both before and during this period. (Refer also to Record Group 41, Health Officer’s Register of Passengers’ Names, 1792-1794.)