A Guide to the Greene County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1841-1945 Greene County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1841-1945 0007305790

A Guide to the Greene County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1841-1945

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007305790


Library of Virginia

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Processed by: Ed Jordan

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
Greene County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1841-1945
Physical Characteristics
.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
Greene County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Greene County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1841-1945. Local government records collection, Greene 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 Greene County.

Historical Information

Greene County was named for Nathanael Greene, commanding general of the Continental army in the South during part of the Revolutionary War. It was formed from Orange County in 1838. The county seat is Stanardsville.

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

Greene County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1841-1945, 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.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

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

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

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

Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1850 April, Death of Virenda Stogdale:

Died by hanging herself with a rope from a cherry tree.

1905 March 21, Deaths of George Collier, Johnnie Collier, and Henry Morris:

Died from a dynamite explosion at the High Top Copper Mining Company. The dynamite and blasting caps were kept close together in a shanty with a stove because the company was afraid of theft or destruction of these items in the magazine.

1925 May, Deaths of Stanton Deane and Selrina Meadows:

Both Stanton and Selrina died from gunshot wounds inflicted by Selrina's husband, Gruber (Gruver) Meadows who believed they were having an affair. Two of their children, ages 12 and 10, provided testimony in the inquest.

1925 August 16, Death of Kennie Reins:

Died from the effects of a shot from a pistol held in the hands of Cecil Raines. The inquest includes a hand-drawn map of the location where the fighting and shooting took place.

1929, Death of Charlie Johnson:

Died from gunshot wounds to the chest received while attempting to escape from road camp. He was one of three prisoners who was attempting to escape. He was shot seven times.