A Guide to the Mecklenburg County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1788-1827 Mecklenburg County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1788-1827 0007418356

A Guide to the Mecklenburg County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1788-1827

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007418356


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
URL: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

© 2013 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Ed Jordan

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
Mecklenburg County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1788-1827
Physical Characteristics
.35 cu. ft. (1 box)
Mecklenburg County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Mecklenburg County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1788-1827. Local government records collection, Mecklenburg 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 Mecklenburg County.

Historical Information

Mecklenburg County was named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, consort of King George III. It was formed from Lunenburg County in 1764. The county court first met on 11 March 1765. The county seat is Boydton.

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

Mecklenburg County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1788-1827, 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. 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:

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

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

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

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

Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1788 July 12, Death of Emanuel, a slave:

Was shot and killed by his owner's business manager named John Clark. Emanuel ran off when he was attempted to be taken hold of. Clark shot at Emanuel to wound him but because large shot was in gun rather than drop shot, he killed Emanuel. The coroner's jury argued that Clark should be acquitted and exonerated.

1801 July 13, Death of Dan, a slave:

Dan's owner, James Campbell, not having God before his eyes and instigated by the Devil did feloniously and with malice aforethought by excessive driving cause the death of Dan who suddenly died upon his arrival at this place.

1821 December 15, Deaths of Jane, Lilly Ann, and Obedience Hunt:

Killed with an ax wielded by a slave named Henry.