Thursday, June 21, 2012

Coroners' Inquisitions

The office of the coroner was a political one. Medical training was not required. The function of the coroner was to determine the cause of death of persons who died suddenly. If the person died violently, the coroner and a jury, consisting of local men, would view the body and surroundings and would then render the cause of death.

Records of coroners' inquisition are not always easy to find. A few counties might have formal records, but most counties do not. The majority of records I have found were filed with county court records. The coroner would want to be paid for his work and, thus, would submit a claim to county court for payment. You might also find the claim for payment listed in the county court order books (court minutes).

The following claim for payment was found among other county court claims in Crittenden County in 1885. It reads as follows:

"Crittenden county to T.C. Campbell Dr to holding inquest on the Boddy of L.W. Burklow on the 24 of Feb 1885 $6.00"

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