A Guide to the Westmoreland County (Va.) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870 Westmoreland County (Va.) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870 1177335, 1177342

A Guide to the Westmoreland County (Va.) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1177335, 1177342


Library of Virginia

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© 2013 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Sarah Nerney

Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
1177335, 1177342
Westmoreland County (Va.) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870
Physical Characteristics
.010 cu.ft
Westmoreland County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Westmoreland County (Va.) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870. Local government records collection, Westmoreland County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court records from Westmoreland County.

Historical Information

The Virginia legislature passed an act on 27 February 1866 to legalize the marriages of former slaves and provided for the legitimization of children of couples no longer cohabiting as long as the father recognized the children to be his. See Virginia Acts of Assembly, 1866-1867, Chapter 18, An act to amend and re-enact the 14th section of chapter 108 of the Code of Virginia for 1860, in regard to registers of marriage; and to legalize the marriages of colored persons now cohabiting as husband and wife.

Westmoreland County was named for the English county. It was formed from Northumberland County in 1653. The county seat is Montross.

Many loose papers were burned during both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Volumes that record deeds, court orders (except for an order book for the period 1764-1776), and wills exist.

Scope and Content

Westmoreland County (Va) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870, involve disputes over custody of children fathered by slaves or free African Americans with slave women or free African American women prior to emancipation. The fathers are seeking custody of the children so that they may be declared legitimate based on an act passed by the Virginia legislature on 27 February 1866.

Writs of habeas corpus is directed to a person detaining another and commanding him to produce the body of the person detained. The purpose is to test the legality of the detention or imprisonment.

Related Material

The Westmoreland County (Va) Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1867, 1870 are filed with Westmoreland County (Va.) Judgments, 1739-1914 available at the Library of Virginia

See the Lost Records Localities Digital Collection available at Virginia Memory.

For more information and a listing of lost records localities see Lost Records research note .

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Westmoreland County (Va.) Circuit Court
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans--History
  • Custody of children
  • Slavery--Virginia--Westmoreland County
  • Women--Virginia--Westmoreland County
  • Geographical Names:

  • Westmoreland County (Va.)--History--19th century
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Civil suits--Virginia--Westmoreland County
  • Local government records--Virginia--Westmoreland County
  • Writs--Virginia--Westmoreland County

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Westmoreland County (Va.)--History--19th century

List of Writs of Habeas Corpus

1867 January: Petition of Peter Wiggins
1867 June: Petition of Abram Hall
1870 October: Petition of Henry Smith