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.'

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Natural Causes Inquests

Displaying 101 - 150 of 301
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Method Inquest Finding
infant November 27, 1870 at William Stuart's residence, Anderson County, SC stillbirth

do say that…said child was dead born

infant January 23, 1873 at residence of M. A. Snipes, Anderson County, SC

do say that it came to its death by the act of God

infant September 30, 1884 at the residence of W. A. Reed, Spartanburg County, SC fever

upon their oaths do say that the said infant came to its death resulting from scarlett fever or whatever the disease might have been

infant infant June 6, 1876 at Orange Goodlet'ts, Greenville County, SC child birth

upon their oaths do say … the jury is not able to say whether the child was born alive or not.

infant December 24, 1882 at the residence of Miss Mary Bridges, Spartanburg County, SC
infant November 18, 1869 at Daniel Oglesby's near Thickety Creek, Limestone[?] Township, Spartanburg County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said child came to its death by disease

infant March 16, 1883 at Martha J. Adkins, Spartanburg County, SC

upon their oaths do say that said infant child came to his death by the hands of Providence

infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say we find that deceased Infant … came to its death from natural causes

infant March 30, 1874 at Silas Kay's , Anderson County, SC stillborn

do say that the said child came to its death by injurys [sic]…by violence or otherwise unknown to us.

infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said infant didid from natural cause or by the hand god

infant child infant child February 28, 1877 at Greenville CH, Greenville County, SC illness

upon their oaths do say that the said infant child of Ella Mitchell came to his death caused by congestion of the liver stomach & bowels

infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards, Edgefield County, SC child birth

upon their oaths, do say that the said infant male Child came to it death by premature birth

infant child infant child August 9, 1837 on the plantation of Mr. Austin Wilson, Union County, SC

do say upon their oaths that the said Child … died by the visitation of God in a natural way

infant child. Male. infant child. Male. January 25, 1874 at Solomon Scott's, Greenville County, SC child birth

upon their oaths do say that said child was born on the twenty second inst and was dead

infant male child infant male child in Edgefield County, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say, that … the said infant came to his death, by heart failure produced from congestion of the lungs

infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that … the said Infant aforesaid … came to its death from natural causes

Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that Decd came to his death by the act of God

Isaac slave March 4, 1841 at Col. Wm. J. Taylor's plantation, Kershaw County, SC

on their oaths due say that it was according to their belief and the evidence before them that Isaac came to his Death by the visitation of God

Isaac Greer December 29, 1879 at Vernonville, Spartanburg County, SC unknown

upon their oaths do say that he came to his death by cause or causes unknown to them but in their opinion it was an act of God

Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring, Edgefield County, SC

upon there oaths do say that the deceast came to his death from Nattural Causese the visitation of Providence

Israel slave November 3, 1845 on the plantation of David Gentry, Anderson County, SC seizure

do say that the said Israel came to his death by mischance, and not from any injury inflicted by the hand of another, but by the act of God.

J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say, that the said J.B. Whittle came to his death from natural cause

J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H., Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oaths do say that the deceased J D Wells came to his death from Heart disease

J. H. Vandike May 20, 1877 at Crawfordville, Spartanburg County, SC apoplexy

upon their oaths do say that they are satisfied that the aforesaid Col. J.H. Vandike came to his death from apoplexy while riding along the road

Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Jack Taylor … came to his death by the act of God. He having died from old age 84 years and having hearty failure bleeding Hemorage of the lungs and asthma

Jacob Belue July 31, 1882 at Jacob Belues, Greenville County, SC illness

upon their oaths do say that the said Jacob Belue came to his death from congestion of the lungs

Jacob Briges September 18, 1832 at the house of Jacob Briges, Spartanburg County, SC

do say upon their oaths that it was the visitation of God

James Boiter May 20, 1887 near Wakefield Bridge, Spartanburg County, SC heart disease

upon there oaths do say ... that the aforesaid James Boiter came to his death from heart disease

James Coleman September 16, 1873 at or near Mrs. Fantt's residence and one and 1/2 miles south east of Anderson, Anderson County, SC

do say that the deceased came to his death by the act of God.

James Cook June 3, 1845 in the old field near the still house of James Cook, Spartanburg County, SC

do say upon their oaths that the said James Cook came to his death by the visitation of God

James Drake December 7, 1854 at residence of James Drake, Anderson County, SC collapsed while working

do say that the said James Drake came to his death by the hand of God

James Goodson September 28, 1807 Kershaw County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said James Goodson … was found dead, that he had no such marks of violence on his body as would have occasioned his death & died by the visitation of God & not otherwise

James Hall September 25, 1818 in town of Camden, Kershaw County, SC

do say upon a view of the body of the deceased … that he came to his death by the visitation of God.

James Harmon March 4, 1841 near[?] Nichara[?] Gordon's, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say that they cannot find no marks of Violence upon him and he died by the visitation of god in a natural way and not otherwise

James Johnson at James Johnson's farm, Union County, SC

he came to his death by some caus unknown to us

James Lee April 7, 1834 at Amos Lee's, Union County, SC

do say upon there oaths that the sd James Lee … on the plantation of William Hay[?] … Dyed By the Visitation of god in a natural way

James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say … the deceased came to his death by Rheumation of the heart

James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Jas Mitchell came to his death by means unknown

James Robertson September 13, 1885 at Calvin Brewton's, Spartanburg County, SC vomiting blood

upon their oaths do say that the aforesaid James Robertson came to his death by disease of the heart

James Robinson May 20, 1883 n.a., Anderson County, SC apoplexy

came to his death by the act of God in the form of Apoplexy

James Tiller March 9, 1854 at the Mansion House in the Town of Camden, Kershaw County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said James Tiller came to his death by a visitation of God

James Wilson March 27, 1846 at the house of Alexander Moorehead, Anderson County, SC collapsed while chopping wood

do say that the said James Wilson came to his death by the hands of Providence causes unknown to the jury.

Jane Archer January 13, 1813 in house of Alexander Archer on Brown[?] Creek , Kershaw County, SC

do say upon their oaths that said Jane Archer came to her death on the night Sautrday the tenth of January Instant in a natural way in the house of Alexander Archer

Jane Ashmore child April 3, 1880 at Greenville, Greenville County, SC illness

upon their oaths do say that … the said Jane Ashmore came to her death from natural causes

Jane Laniere August 13, 1880 at the residence of G. B. Whiton, Anderson County, SC disease

do say that the said Jane Lanier died in the woods near the public road leading from Pendleton to Williamston at the 4 mile post…by no foul means but by a disease of the heart

Jane Wisher September 30, 1848 at the residence of Mrs. Jane Wisher, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say from the widow of Elisabeth Wisher that the deceased was an oald person and had for some years past been afflicted with what had been cauled palpitation of the heart and [?] and was complaining … came to her death by a visitation of god

Jenny slave April 28, 1836 Kershaw County, SC

do on their oath say that they believe she died of an apoplectic fit, the visitation of God

Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road, Edgefield County, SC

upon there oaths do say that the said Jim a slave … came to his death by the act of Providence

Jim slave October 4, 1858 at Giles Sharps, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say that Jim came to his death for some cause unknown or the visitation of god

Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises, Edgefield County, SC

upon there Oaths do say that Joe Elam Came to his death from Natural Causes

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