Body Viewing - Contributed by Gail M. Walczyk

Paul Rynuse an indentured servant of William Custis is found dead and William Custis, who was thought to have been involved with his death. An inquest of sorts was called for and a jury empaneled to view the body. and William Custis was made to touch the corpse. The jury saw that there was no cause for them to think Custis was involved and that there was no sign that he had died violently and so it was desided that Paul Rynuse died naturally.

15 December 1656 the oath delivered to the Jury by Capt. Wm. Whittington - You shall view of the corpse of Paul Rynurse and give your verdict (as to your judgments you shall find the cause of his death.) So help you God. We (whose names are underwritten) this day sworne and lawfully constituted by virtue of a warrent from you worthy Capt. William Whittington dated 14th of December 1656 have viewed the corpse of Paul Rynurse late of this County deceased and have caused Mr. William Custis (the person questioned) to touch the face and stroke the body of the said Paul Rynnuss; (which he very willingly performed) But no sign did appear unto us the question in the law. Further (accordingl to the best of our judgment and consciences) we have taken motince of the body of the said Paul Rynurse; but find not any evidence, token or sign of his death (by violent action.) Therefore we unanimously give our verdict that the said Paul Rynurse died a natural death (as God was pleased to visit him) witness our hands this 15th day of December 1656. - Recorded 18th of December 1656 per Edm. Matthews Clk. Cur.

Mackey, Dr. Howard.  Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Orders, Deeds, Wills &c. Vol 5, 1654-1655. Rockport, ME: Picton Press, 1999:233.

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