Natural Causes

The “hand of God” is an active presence in CSI:D files. To be sure, the Almighty took no part in the suicides and homicides; those were the work of men “not having God Before [their] Eyes But moved by the instigation of the Devil.” Deaths that could be traced to what we would call ‘natural causes,’ however, were typically deemed an ‘act of God,’ a ‘visitation by God,’ or the ‘dispensation of Providence.’

Such cases expand on the point made in the introduction that coroners' inquests paint a very particular portrait of death in the nineteenth-century South. The stock and trade of the coroner's office were sudden deaths, especially those that intruded upon the public view. An old man succumbing to slow cancer in his own home was unsuspicious and unlikely to be investigated. This explains why heart attacks and strokes (which they called apoplexy) figure more prominently than fever among the ‘hand of God’ cases in these files. It also explains the relative frequency of deaths that occurred out-of-doors. Daniel Brown died in his cotton field; Jane Laniere died “in the woods near the public road”; Hartwell Roper “fell dead ... at his plow.”

The words ‘Hand of God’ were also used in cases where the deceased had been struck by lightning. (In perhaps the strangest case, Broderick Mason and his enslaved girl, Cinthy, were killed by the same lightning bolt, a sure sign that God does not play favorites.) Despite the similarity in terminology, however, lightning deaths have been filed as accidents because, like cave ins and train crashes, they are cases of people simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and however ‘natural’ they might seem they are not a ‘natural death.’

NEXT: Meet the Coroners

 

Natural Causes Inquests

Displaying 551 - 573 of 573
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Method Inquest Finding
Wiley W. Gandy November 18, 1912 at Steer Pen, Chesterfield County, SC

the Said W W Gandy came to his death we find that the deceast W W Gandy came to his death by Natural causes

Finley Hall November 30, 1912 at Ansleydale, Chesterfield County, SC

upon theire oaths do say that the Said Finley Hall come to his death by Natural causes

Aneliza Perdue January 31, 1913 at Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Aneliza Perdue did come to her death by Natural causes

Ned Redfern January 24, 1916 at Evans Mill, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: natural causes

Prince Crawford November 29, 1916 at Pageland, Chesterfield County, SC

Prince Crawford came to his death from natural causes

Gilbert Crawford July 22, 1921 at Pageland, Chesterfield County, SC

Gilbert Crawford came to his death form natural causes

Charley Turner February 8, 1922 at J W Patsobe, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: That Charley Turner came to his death from natural cause

Miss Vida Nivius April 4, 1923 at Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Chesterfield County, SC

We the Jury after viewing the Body of Miss Nivius find that the dec'd aforsaid she came to her death from natural causes

David S. Threatt July 15, 1924 at Dudley Chesterfield County S. C., Chesterfield County, SC

I decided that under the clear facts of the surroundings that it was unnecessary to empanel a Jury to decided how he came to his death as there was no the least suspicion or doubt that the deceased came to his death by natural causes from an affliction which usually and natural terminates fatal and suddenly.

Unknown Infant Unknown Infant July 1, 1925 at Cheraw, Chesterfield County, SC

My opinion is that its death was from natural cause and has been dead for about four days

Waterman Fleming August 3, 1925 at Jule Fleming's, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: by natural causes

Cintha Boon April 10, 1926 [Stein?] Pin Township, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: Died of Heart failure

Theatus or Theater Williams August 21, 1926 at Mt. Croghan, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: Theates Williams came to his Death from Hart Farlery

Wiliam Clinton May 11, 1928 at Wiliam Clinton's place, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: that Wiliam Clinton came to his Death from natial causes

Shelt Gainey February 17, 1929 [no location given], Chesterfield County, SC

We Find du Explannation and Testimony frm Witnesses and Doctor that Deceased Shelt Gainy came to his Death from Natural Cause, Heart Trouble and Accut Indigestion from eating Fresh Pork for his supper

Mandy Richerson February 18, 1929 on Jule Campbell's Place, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: Mandy Richerson came to her Death from natural causes

Mrs. Joe Landon October 11, 1929 [no location given], Chesterfield County, SC

according to evidence that an inquest is not necessary

Vance Melton January 18, 1930 at Cheraw, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: that he came to his death from natural causes

Mrs. Will Hough March 22, 1930 at Chesterfield County, South Carolina, Chesterfield County, SC

[No official declaration]

David Hall October 26, 1931 at McBee, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: That david Hall come to his death by natural causes

Baby Roscoe June 18, 1934 at Ruby & Hartsville Cross Roads, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths, do say: Still Born

Betty Gene Mangum December 19, 1934 at Pageland, Chesterfield County, SC

[No official declaration]

Earnest Leland Smith Jr. December 12, 1945 at Chesterfield, Chesterfield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that Earnest Leland Smith, Jr. received in Chesterfield County a mortal wound by causes unknown

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