From Our eLibrary: Minutes of Coroner’s Proceedings: City and County of New York, 1748-1758

Transcribed and annotated by Francis J. Sypher, Jr., Ph.D., Minutes of Coroner’s Proceedings: City and County of New York, gives us a fascinating glimpse of life and legal procedures in the mid-18th century New York City.  From 1748-1758, Coroner John Burnet conducted inquests for more than 75 city residents who died under unusual circumstances, including murder, drowning, suicide, premature birth, death while in jail, and numerous kinds of accidents.

One particularly interesting entry describes the death of an assailant, Michael Fatt, was killed by his intended victim: “The jurors upon their oaths do say that the aforesaid Michael Fatt on the seventeenth day of the aforesaid month of May in the thirteenth reign of our lord…then and there being an assault did make and with a certain drawn a weapon called a sword did the and there put the same Christopher Hesse in manifest peril of his life whereupon the same Christopher Hesse with a certain drawn weapon also called sword… [make] one mortal[l] wound near his breast with the sword” (p. 70).


NYG&B members can read the entire book in our Digital Book Collection in our eLibrary.

There are also copies available for purchase on our website.



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