A Guide to the Page County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1831-1946 Page County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1831-1946 0007310622-0007310624

A Guide to the Page County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1831-1946

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 0007310622-0007310624


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The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
Page County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1831-1946
Physical Characteristics
1.35 cu. ft. (3 boxes)
Page County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

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Preferred Citation

Page County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1831-1946. Local government records collection, Page 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 Page County.

Historical Information

Page County was named according to most sources, for John Page, revolutionary patriot, congressman, and governor of Virginia from 1802 to 1805. It was formed from Rockingham and Shenandoah counties in 1831.

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

Page County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1831-1946, 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:

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

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

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

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

Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1842 February 25, Death of John Wesley Bell:

Feloniously killed and murdered by Martin and Captain (slaves of John Bell). They hit him with a heavy object behind the right ear producing extensive fracture of the bones in the area and violent contusion of the soft parts. Then, they threw him in the Shenandoah River a short distance from where he was found. Martin and Captain were indicted for murder. One was believed to be the actual killer, while the other was "aiding and abetting."

1880 March 16, Deaths of Willie Hilliard and Allison Jackson:

Jackson took Willie Hilliard, age 3, with him and later the child was found dead. He died from strangulation by drowning. Alison Jackson, black, was charged with the willful murder of the child and taken into custody. Mr. Lucas testified that before he could return with the papers a mob (75-100 men), had taken Jackson from the guards in whose keeping he was, and hung him to a gum sappling where he was found hanging dead the next morning. A Mr. Mace testified the mob were both black and white men, he thought.

1886 November 11, Death of Unnamed infant of Eaevard and Milly Williams:

Came to its death from exhaustion due to loss of blood from an improperly tied umbilical cord, as well as the manner in which the supernumerary (extra) fingers were amputated by Eliza Clarke. Clarke was the midwife in attendance for the birth. Clarke testified that she "did the best she knew how, and tied the navel after the child was born." She also stated that, "Ed [father of the child] wanted me to go and cut the extra fingers off the baby". She told him, "Ed, the baby is all right." He said, "No, I want you to go on up and cut them fingers off- I don't want them on there." He said, "Take the scissors and cut them off." She then stated, "I took the scissors and cut them off; they did not bleed at first and I thought there was no blood in them. I washed and dressed the baby at that time and the navel had not bled any then."

1905 February 26, Death of Henry Henderson:

Came to his death by drowning in the Shenandoah River after having been pursued by Harry Keyser. John Callary testified that, "Miss Malone and Maudie were on the porch and they said they are running a Negro. They are taking him off the railroad, and bringing him down the County Road." She said, "get up and go out and stop those boys or they will kill that Negro." "I then went out and up toward the County Road, thinking I would stop the boys from bothering the Negro. My wife came and said the Negro had drowned, and that I had better go out and get the names of the boys. I took their names."

1917 August 28, Death of Bessie Ford:

Came to her death from causes unknown. Bessie Smith was struck by her husband and "knocked senseless for five minutes." She then complained of her head hurting her. Dr. George Long testified that he did not think the blow from her husband caused her death but may have hastened it since she had been weak from an influence of diseases.

1933 October 20, Death of Mrs. Ashby Lee Algers:

Came to her death from acute indigestion. Her husband, Mr. Algers testified that his wife had been at her sister's, Mrs. Turner's, peeling pears to make a couple of gallons of preserves. When she returned later, she became "right ill." She had indigestion from eating sweet potatoes and some pears. Mr. Algers offered to call a doctor, but she shook her head, as it was four of five miles away to a phone. He went to her sister's house to tell her that his wife was very ill and he did not expect her to live. She refused to come, and said "If she dies, you killed her." Mrs. Turner confirmed in her testimony that is what she said.

1933 April 11, Death of T.O. Kibler:

Suicide. Mrs. Kibler and her grandson returned home to find Mr. Kibler sitting with a muzzle toward the back of a shed with his head bleeding. A note was found written and signed by him saying he was taking his life. The suicide note, written on the back of an old envelope, is included in inquisition. The note states, "I done it. Am no good. Will get out of the way. All I want is a old box. Times are hard. No 'preching.'" It is signed "T.O. Kibler"

1934 January 26, Death of Louise Cubbage:

Came to her death by a gunshot wound inflicted upon her by Robert Alger. Alger was under the accountable age for crime (under age 7). When questioned why he shot her, Robert stated, "he didn't like Louise and did not want her to come over to get his 'eatings'."

1936 September 14, Death of Ambrose Good:

Came to his death from burns received in an accidental explosion. Good and some friends went to a dance hall in Luray. On the way back, they ran out of gas. They were able to walk to a store to get some gas. When they returned, Good was putting the gas in the car, and since it was dark Daniel Lewis struck a match. Good said, "don't do that; it is dangerous." Lewis struck the match again anyway, and Good's clothes caught fire. He was burned to death. When asked if they had been drinking, Carl Davis answered, "yes, we had about three pints."

1946 June 19, Death of Roy Joseph Sturgeon:

Died in a plane crash at a spot on the side of a mountain called, "The Devil's Tan Yard or Raccoon's Head." He was piloting a plane from Norfolk, Virginia to Reedsburg, Wisconsin. The crash was attributed to heavy fog on the mountain.