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Henrico County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1789-1942. Local government records collection, Henrico County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.
These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court records from Henrico County.
Henrico County was named for Henry, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King James I. It was one of the eight original shires, or counties, first enumerated in 1634. The county seat is in the western part of the county.
The separate office of coroner appeared in Virginia about 1660. The judicial duty of the office is to hold inquisitions in cases when persons meet sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious death, or death without medical attendance. The coroner would summon a jury to assist him in determining cause of death. Prior to November 1877, the jurors numbered twelve. Between November 1877 and March 1926, the jurors numbered six. The jury viewed the body of the deceased and heard the testimony of witnesses. The coroner was required to write down witness testimony. After seeing and hearing the evidence, the jury delivered in writing to the coroner their conclusion concerning cause of death referred to as the inquisition. After March 1926, only the coroner determined cause of death. He could require physicians to assist him with determing cause of death. If a criminal act was determined to be the cause of death, the coroner was to deliver the guilty person to the sheriff and the coroners' inquests would be used as evidence in the criminal trial.
Henrico County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1789-1942, are investigations into the deaths of individuals who died by a sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious manner, or died without medical attendance. Causes of death found in coroners' inquisitions include murder, infanticide, suicide, domestic violence, exposure to elements, drownings, train accidents, automobile accidents, and natural causes, or as commonly referred to in the 19th century, visitation by God. Documents commonly found in coroners' inquests include the inquisition, depositions, and summons. Criminal papers such as recognizance bonds can be found in coroner inquisitions. Information found in the inquisition include the name of the coroner, the names of the jurors, the name and age of the deceased if known, gender and race of the deceased, and when, how, and by what means the deceased came to his or her death. If the deceased was African American, the inquest would identify the deceased as a slave or free person if known. If the deceased was a slave, the inquest would include, if known, the name of the slaveowner and the slaveowner's residence. Information found in the depositions include the name of the deponent and his or her account of the circumstances that led to the death of the deceased. Slaves were deponents in coroner investigations.
Chronological by date coroner filed inquisition in the court.
- Henrico County (Va.) Circuit Court
- African Americans--History
- Coroners--Virginia--Henrico County
- Death--Causes--Virginia--Henrico County
- Free African Americans--Virginia--Henrico County
- Infanticide--Virginia--Henrico County
- Murder victims--Virginia--Henrico County
- Murder--Investigation--Virginia--Henrico County
- Slaveholders--Virginia--Henrico County
- Slaves--Virginia--Henrico County
- Suicide--Virginia--Henrico County
- Women--Virginia--Henrico County
- Henrico County (Va.)--History
- Death records--Virginia--Henrico County
- Local government records--Virginia--Henrico County
- Reports--Virginia--Henrico County
Genre and Form Terms:
Joe, a slave owned by Thomas H. Prosser of Henrico County, died from a mortal blow received about the body administered by the overseer in self-defense.
Solomon Jones, a free negro, died at Deep Run Coal Pits in Henrico County from being whipped and burned in a most horrid and shocking manner by Thomas Lawther being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil.
Nancy Major died by severe beatings she received from her husband, a negro slave named John owned by Thomas Cowls.
Angel and Shurn drown while crossing or attempting to cross Gillees Creek in a wagon. They accidently got out of the wagon and into the creek being very much intoxicated.
Murphy died when casually or accidently fell overboard from a steam boat into the James River and drowned or was killed by machinery of steam boat.
The infant was killed and murdered by its mother Kesiah by smothering or by stopping its breath by putting her hand on its face and keeping it there until dead. She did not have the peace of God before her eyes, but was moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil to kill her child.
McRae was the property of the widow of Allen M. Lyons. Died from being taken with a cramp while bathing in the James River Canal.
Cola was the property of James Hix. She died of congestion of the brain while fastened to a tree with a chain around her neck by Richard H. Barnes and James W. Baker.
Died from strokes from blunt instrument in the hands of a mob.
Wilkinson and Wills died by drowning in the James River. The drownings were brought about by reason of three holes bored in the bottom of the boat by P.W. Nicholas. He filled the holes with corn cobs. Nicholas removed the corn cobs from when Wilkinson and Wills rowed from shore with the intention of drowning Wills. Nicholas was having an illicit affair with Wills' wife.
Lewis died when he was hit by a south bound train on the R.F. and P. Railroad while he was asleep on the track.
Death was due to injuries caused by a blow from a rock thrown by Isaac Stocker over a ten cents debt.
Fagan died due to an accidental explosion of dynamite while warming himself at a fire which had been kindled for the purpose of thawing the dynamite.
Kenzie died from acute poisoning from eating large quantity of raw green butterbeans, hulls included.
Bellas died from falling on a wood saw which sawed his head into two parts.
Hadley died as the result of being drugged and drowned by her husband, Wilmer Amos Hadley.
Brown was accidently killed at Hermitage Golf Club by being struck on the neck by a golf ball. Death probably due to rupture of cerebral artery.
Shaw died from acute streptococeus infection of the brain due to infected teeth.