09 October 2015


Boyd County, Kentucky

     Early coroners in Kentucky not only assisted with death by un-natural cause or violence but could process criminal and civil cases as well as make an arrest when necessary. Early records indicate that the coroner was appointed by the local court.   Today coroners are duly elected within each county.  They are considered constitutionally elected peace officers.  They are assisted by the Kentucky State Medical Examiners Office when necessary.  There is also a Kentucky Coroners Association providing a network for these elected officials.

     Coroners are required to submit reports to the circuit court on their findings but are not required to keep any particular record system.  Thus records can be vague, inconsistent or very brief when located at the county courthouse.  If a death certificate is marked delayed and the coroner signature appears it is wise for researchers to also check circuit court records for further investigation.

W. T. Hood, Boyd County Coroner 1870. On August 1870 Boyd County Court Orders show W. P. Hoods  appointment.  William Zachary Taylor Hood was born March 1848 the son of William P. and Matilda Howe Hood. He married Helen Davis the daughter of William Davis and Elizabeth McCroskey Davis 18 September 1875.  The Hoods lived on Sammons Fork of Garner on what was to become known as Poor House Road and at this writing is Long Branch Road. Hood did not complete medical college until 1884, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The family later moved to Peoria County, Illinois and later Sangamon County, Illinois. 

W. B. Porter. Boyd County Coroner 1874.  Failed to qualify and left a vacancy county then called and appointed him to fill the vacancy.  Dec 1874 order book 4 page 133

J. W. Martin 1882 Coroner     cited Order book 5 page 35-41 and 347

J. H. Wade 27 October 1890 resigned as Coroner of Boyd County. Order Book 6 page 309 and 346.

A. H. Moore, Boyd County Coroner 1900 -

Charles  R. Hunter, Boyd County Coroner 1921-1931.   In 1930 Dr. Hunter and his wife Eliza B., son Sylvester and daughter Mary V. were residing in Upper Ashland. Dr. Hunter died in June 1932 at Sandy Hook, Elliott County, Kentucky.

J. C. Hall, Boyd County Coroner 1931-[39 still listed]

Russell Compton, Boyd County Coroner 1956-1976.   Compton was a partner and funeral director for Kilgore and Collier Funeral Home, Catlettsburg, Kentucky.  Compton is retired and still lives in Boyd County, Kentucky.

C. Wayne Franz , Boyd County Coroner 1969-1976. Franz was born May 26, 1915 in Wurtland, Greenup County, Kentucky, the son of Theodore Benard and Nora Ann Fox Franz. During the Korean War he was a flight surgeon with the U. S. Air Force.  Franz married Audrey Elwanda Gussler 6 July 1940.  She was the daughter of Ova and Bessie Lyons Gussler. Franz had a private medical practice in Ashland, Kentucky for 30 years.  Franz is credited with establishing an emergency ambulance service in Ashland and was instrumental in the formation of the FIVCO District Health Department.  Franz was acting physician for the Gertrude Ramey Childrens Home for many years.  He served the balance of an unexpired term of Boyd County Coroner...

Philip Michael Neal, Boyd County Coroner 1976 -1998.  Prior to his appointment he acted as deputy coroner under Dr. C. Wayne Franz for seven years. Neal is owner of Neal Funeral Home and Kilgore & Collier Funeral Home located in Catlettsburg, Kentucky.  Mike and his wife Sandra have been active in missionary trips with Oakland Avenue Baptist Church, Catlettsburg.             

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