A writ of habeas corpus is a procedure for obtaining a judicial determination of the legality of an individual's custody. This collection includes petitions for writs of habeas corpus and the writs themselves, showing the names of petitioners, persons to be brought to court, nature of dispute or alleged crime, dates of writs and accompanying documents, names of judges, and names of persons that the writs are filed against. Petitioners include indentured servants, runaway slaves, free African-Americans, convicted prisoners, those awaiting trial, relatives of prisoners, parties in child custody disputes, and relatives of army recruits and draftees. Arranged chronologically by date of filing. Handwritten, handwritten on printed forms, and a very few typewritten.