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.
Liens filed by contractors showing names of parties including owner of property; description of property including location; nature of claim; description of materials and work done on property; volume and page number of recording in Mechanics' Liens Docket; and date filed.
Collection consists of records by Cassius Emlen Urban, a Lancaster architect. He supervised the construction of the Lancaster Post Office at 120 N. Duke St., Lancaster. Many letters from James H. Windrim, supervising architect of the Treasury Department, Washington, D. C. Book of correspondence contains details of the construction. Also includes letters he wrote to his son, Rathfon, dated February 14-29, 1939, while on the Italian liner, Roma.
C. Emlen Urban
Throughout Downtown Lancaster numerous iconic buildings make up the city's landscape giving it its unique and ornate character. Landmark buildings such as the Greist Building, the Watt and Shand Department Store, Hager Building, Southern Market, along with many more churches, residential units including the facade of the Fulton Opera House were the design of Cassius Emlen Urban. Urban was Lancaster's first architect and one of the most significant influences on the city. 1 Urban modernized the city's landscape as he designed buildings in a new era where technologies never before available to architects made it possible for himself to leave such a grand impression.
Urban was born on February 20, 1863 in Conestoga Township to a Civil War veteran Amos Urban, a distinguished citizen known for his modesty and community service. Urban finished high school in 1880 and would get his architectural training through an apprenticeship with Scanton, PA architect E.L. Walter. Later in 1884 Urban would move to Philadelphia where he served as a draftsman to Willis G. Hale. Upon returning to Lancaster roughly a year later Urban would open his own practice in Lancaster.2
Only a few years after Urban opened his practice through a family connection he would receive a commission to design Lancaster's Southern Market. Urban's career would take off leading him to design many more iconic buildings in Lancaster and Hershey as well. Urban, through his membership at the Hamilton Club made acquaintance with Milton Hershey who hired him to design such buildings as Hershey Chocolates original company offices and even his own mansion.3
Urban spent the majority of his life in Lancaster with the exception of his time studying as a young man. Urban is remembered for his buildings designed in Queen Anne and Beaux style architecture.4 Shenk in his A History of Lancaster County wrote of Urban, "Few men of Lancaster county can point to a finer array of useful and beautiful work than can Cassius Emlen Urban."
Nicole O. Sturla, "Cassius Emlen Urban: Lancaster's First Native Architect," Susquehanna Monthly Magazine, September 1980.
2 History of Lancaster County, ed. E.M.J. Klein (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company Inc., 1924), 443.
3 "Urban, C. Emlen; 1863-1939," Hershey Community Archives, accessed September 30, 2014. http://www.hersheyarchives.org/essay/details.aspx?EssayId=34&Rurl=%2Fresources%2Fsearch-results.aspx%3FType%3DBrowseEssay.
4 "Introduction," To Build Strong and Substantial: The Career of Architect C. Emlen Urban, (2009): 2-3.
Cataloged prior to 1997. Updated by HST, 18 March 2010; Biographical information by DJ, Fall 2014. Added to database 22 August 2017.