A Guide to the Louisa County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1786-1904 Louisa County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1786-1904 0007332027

A Guide to the Louisa County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1786-1904

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007332027


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© 2012 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Ed Jordan

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
Louisa County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1786-1904
Physical Characteristics
.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
Louisa County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Louisa County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1786-1904. Local government records collection, Louisa 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 Louisa County.

Historical Information

Louisa County was named for Louisa, a daughter of King George II and wife of King Frederick V of Denmark. It was formed from Hanover County in 1742.

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

Louisa County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1786-1904, 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

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Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1786 Feb. 10, Death of Jeny (a slave):

Jeny, a slave belonging to Col. Richard James, died from the whipping given to her by William Tuggle of Louisa County.

1793 Jun. 9, Death of Daphney (a slave):

Daphney, a slave belonging to Thomas Poindexter, died after being forced to eat tobacco and other treatment at the hands of two other slaves, Patty and Abraham.

1805 Jan. 28, Death of the male infant of Milley Hansford:

Hansford gave birth alone in a field at night, and the jury was unable to determine whether her infant was stillborn or murdered by his mother.

1828 Dec. 4, Death of Nancy Green:

Green "was killed and murdered by being hung by a cord around her neck by the hands of slaves named Sydna and Eliza."

1835 Sep. 14, Death of Toby (a slave):

According to the inquisition, Toby died a natural death; however, two of the jurors stated Toby was killed or murdered by wounds inflicted on the head and chin, and these wounds were inflicted by an unknown person.

1896 Mar. 25, Death of Tom Samson:

Died from the fall from a mule while under the effects of whiskey or brandy.