The Resource Gloucester County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1870-1902
- Gloucester County (Va.) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1870-1902
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- Infanticide. -- Virginia | Gloucester County
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- Gloucester County (Va.)
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- Gloucester County (Va) Coroners' Inquisitions, 1870-1902, 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 include 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
- Biographical or historical data
- Gloucester County was named probably to honor Henry, duke of Gloucester, the third son of King Charles I, or it may also have been named for the English county. It was formed from York County in 1651. The county seat is Gloucester.
- 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.
- All records were destroyed by an 1820 fire, and most of the records created after 1820 were destroyed by fire in Richmond on 3 April 1865, where they had been moved for safekeeping during the Civil War.
- Cataloging source
- Location of other archival material
- Gloucester County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Gloucester County Court Records may be found in the Virginia Lost Records Localities Digital Collection.
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