A Guide to the Amelia County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1779-1830 Amelia County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1779-1830 0007289054

A Guide to the Amelia County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1779-1830

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007289054


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Processed by: Chad Underwood

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
Amelia County Coroners' Inquisitions, 1779-1830
Physical Characteristics
.20 cu. ft.
Amelia County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

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Preferred Citation

Amelia County Coroners' Inquisitions, 1779-1830. Local government records collection, Amelia County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Amelia County.

Historical Information

Amelia County was named for Amelia Sophia Eleanora, daughter of George II of England. It was formed from Prince George and Brunswick Counties in 1734. Its area is 366 square miles and the county seat is Amelia.

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.

Scope and Content

Amelia County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1779-1830, 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, exposure to elements, drownings, train 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. 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, where the deceased was from, if known, 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.


Chronological by date coroner filed inquisition in the court.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

  • African Americans--History
  • Coroners--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Death--Causes--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Murder victims--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Murder--Investigation--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Slaveholders--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Slaves--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Suicide--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Women--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Geographical Names:

  • Amelia County (Va.)--History
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Death records--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Local government records--Virginia--Amelia County
  • Reports--Virginia--Amelia County

Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1782 Dec. 8, Death of Polydore(slave):

Polydore, a slave owned by the estate of Peter R Bland, death was occasioned by Abram Lockett and John Clay Brooks beating him with a large stick and other ill usage.

1786 Dec. 17, Death of Dick (slave):

Dick, a slave owned by Samuel Sherwin, was killed by accident in a scuffle with one of his fellow servants.

1786 Dec. 7, Death of Charles Doyal:

Was killed by a large limb that fell on him from the top of a tree.

1804 Dec. 27, Death of Sally Ligon:

Joseph Ligon di discharge the contents of said gun and shot the said Sally Ligon in the head.

1805 October 24, Death of George Deaton:

Did volentarily and of his malice fore thought did shoot himself in the left breast of which mortal wound he died.

1812 Dec. 12, Death of Peter Richardson:

James Henderson then and there held in his right hand the aforesaid Peter Robertson in and upton the right side of part of his belly of the said Peter Robertson a little below the navel and then and there struck and pierced and gave one mortal wound.

1813 July, Death of James Atkinson:

James Atkinson did murder himself by discharging a gun placed under his chin, so as to force the load through his head.

1815 June 20, Death of Tom (slave):

Tom, a slave owned by the estate of William Powell, came to his death as a result of blows from switches or cowhide by Frances Powell.

1817 October 23, Death of Caleb (slave):

Caleb, a slave owned by Thomas Goode, either drowned by accident or willfully drowned himself.

1822 August 22, Death of Moses Mitchell:

Shot himself as there was sufficient reason for the same.