A Guide to the Charlotte County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1785-1864 Charlotte County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1785-1864 0007286809

A Guide to the Charlotte County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1785-1864

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode Number: 0007286809


Library of Virginia

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© 2011 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: J. Porter

The Library of Virginia
Charlotte County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1785-1864
Physical Characteristics
.225 cu. ft. (1 box)
Charlotte County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Charlotte County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1785-1864. Local government records collection, Charlotte 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 Charlotte County.

Historical Information

Charlotte County was named for Charlotte of MecklenburgStrelitz, consort of George III. It was formed from Lunenburg County in 1764. Its area is 471 square miles, and the county seat is Charlotte Court House.

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 inquisition. After March 1926, only the coroner determined cause of death. He could require physicians to assist him with determining 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

Charlotte County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1785-1864, 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 inquisitions, depositions and summons. Criminal papers such as recognizance bonds can be found in coroner inquisitions. Information found in the inquisitions 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 occasionally deponents in coroner investigations.


Arranged chronological by year and alphabetical by surname.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

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

  • Charlotte County (Va.)--History--19th century.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Death records--Virginia--Charlotte County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--Charlotte County.
  • Reports--Virginia--Charlotte County.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Charlotte County (Va.)--History--19th century.

Selected Coroners' Inquisitions of Interest

1802 Jan 6, Death of Roose (female slave):

Roose was owned by Phillip King, she died after a severe beating by Edmund King not having God before his eyes but by being deceived and seduced by the instigation of the devil.

1814 Jan. 24, Death of Infant:

Infant body badly mangled, infant must have been drown into the river, drown by some person unknown against the dignity of the Commonwealth. Infant was murdered and killed.

1818 Apr 12, Death of Infant:

Child was delivered by her mother standing up by the fireplace. The mother or no other family assisted the child who lived one half hour after delivery and died.

1842 Feb 26, Death of Diley (slave):

Diley died by exposure to the inclemency of the weather having strolled from home and living of unsound mind.

1846 Nov 9, Death of Reuben (negro male):

Reuben was recently whipped, ran a long distance, voluntarily and afterwards drank a heavy draft of water, the appearance of the evidence does not appear death caused by violence.

1861 Jan 8, Death of an Unknown person:

Unknown person death caused by exposure to cold and dearrangment from the effects of liquor.

1863 Jun 9, Andrew (negro male):

Andrew death caused by swallowing clipped hair resulting in inflammation of the stomach lining and lungs.