The Resource Hampton (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions

Hampton (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions

Hampton (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1881-1940
Hampton (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions
Inclusive dates
Hampton (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1881-1940, are investigations into the deaths of individuals who died by a sudden, violent, unnatural or suspicious manner, or died without medical attendance. They include coroners' inquisitions filed in Elizabeth City County court. Causes of death found in coroners' inquisitions include murder, infanticide, suicide, domestic violence, exposure to elements, drownings, train accidents, automobile accidents, and natural causes. 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
Member of
Biographical or historical data
  • Elizabeth City County (extinct) was named for Elizabeth, daughter of James I, and was one of the eight shires established in 1634. It became extinct in 1952, when it was incorporated into the city of Hampton, which was the county seat. Isle of Wight County was most likely named for the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. It was first known as Warrosquyoake and was one of the eight shires established in 1634. The present name was given in 1637. Part of Nansemond County was added in 1769.
  • Hampton takes its name from Hampton Creek, earlier called Southampton River in honor of the earl of Southampton, an important figure in the Virginia Company of London. An Indian village stood on the site in 1607, when John Smith visited the area. The English established a village there in 1610 and a trading post in 1630. Hampton was established by an act of assembly in 1680 and was designated as a port in 1708. It was first incorporated as a town in 1849, then incorporated again in 1852, but the act of incorporation was repealed in 1860. The General Assembly again incorporated the town of Hampton in 1887, and it became a city by court order in 1908. It was greatly enlarged in 1952 by a merger with Elizabeth City County and the town of Phoebus; the county and town thereby became extinct.
  • 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. The coroner 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.
  • Records were burned or destroyed during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Additional records were burned in Richmond on 3 April 1865, where they had been moved for safekeeping during the Civil War. A few pre-Civil War volumes such as deed books, will books, and order books exist.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
Elizabeth City County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Elizabeth City County Court Records may be found in the Virginia Lost Records Localities Digital Collection.
Hampton (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions
These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court records from the city of Hampton
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
A list of selected coroners' inquisitions of interest
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Hampton (City) Circuit Court
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (14 boxes)

Library Locations

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