The Resource Amherst County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions

Amherst County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions

Label
Amherst County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1795-1878
Title
Amherst County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions
Inclusive dates
1795-1878
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Amherst County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1795-1878, 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 occasionally deponents in coroner investigations
Member of
Action
Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Amherst County was named for Major General Jeffery Amherst, British commander in North America during the latter part of the French and Indian War and governor of Virginia from 1759-1768. It was formed from Albemarle County in 1761. Its area is 470 square miles, and the county seat is Amherst.
  • 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 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.
Cataloging source
Vi
Label
Amherst County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions
Note
These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Amherst County
http://library.link/vocab/branchCode
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
A list of selected suits of interest available electronically at the website of the Virginia Heritage Project.
Extent
.20
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Amherst County (Va.) Circuit Court
http://library.link/vocab/recordID
001684899
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (1 box)

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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