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 201 - 250 of 301
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Method Inquest Finding
M. H. Miller April 10, 1889 at W. T. H. Miller's, Spartanburg County, SC heart disease

upon there oaths do say that from the evidence given Martha Miller died with heart disease

M. M. Oneall December 1, 1870 at the residence of Elias E. Roberts, Greenville County, SC heart attack

upon their oaths do say that the said Mrs. M.M. Oneall came to her death from disease of the heart

Major negro man the property of no person July 29, 1845 at the plantation of Miss M. J. Rogers, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say, that the above named Major came to his death by the act of God,

Margret Branan December 15, 1889 at or on Mrs. Alice Taylor's place, Spartanburg County, SC heart failure or affliction of the brain

upon their oaths do say that Margret Branan died ... of heart failure or affliction of the brain

Maria Seawright grandma January 11, 1882 at the farm of A. W. McDavids, Greenville County, SC illness

upon their oaths do say that the said Maria Seawright came to her death from a natural cause by an act of Providence

Mariah Pincy July 10, 1881 Spartanburg County, SC heart disease

upon their oaths aforesaid do say that said Mariah Princey ... came to her death from heart disease

Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do Say that Marsha Lanham Came to her death from hart failure

Martha M. Kerr March 10, 1881 at the house of Edward L. Kerr, Spartanburg County, SC hemorrhage

upon their oaths do say that the said Martha M. Kerr came to her death by the act of God: hemorage of the lungs

Martha Morris January 9, 1881 at the residence of Warren Morris, Anderson County, SC disease

do say that the deceased came to her death from disease of the lungs…at the residence of Warren Morris.

Mary Champion November 10, 1870 at Camden, Camden, S.C., Kershaw County, SC

upon their oaths do say that [the] deceased came to her death by a visitation or the act of God

Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation, Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oaths do Say that the said Mary Gillam came to her death from Rhumatism from the Heart

Mary Jane Johnson child September 25, 1856 at Sarah [?] house, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say that they believe … that it Came to its by the visitation of God

Mary May April 14, 1854 at J. W. May's, Anderson County, SC fell out of chair while sewing

believe came to her death by the hand of Providence.

Matt negro man February 9, 1832 on the plantation of Doct. Jas Macham, Union County, SC

do say upon there Oaths that the Said negro … died with the visitation of God in a natural way

Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills, Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oath do say that the said Matt Loyd died from Dropsy[?] of the heart

Micjah Ward February 9, 1849 at the house of M. Ward, Kershaw County, SC

upon their oaths do say that he came to his death by the visitation of God

Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the Aforesaid Mid Griffin came to his death by Heart failure

Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard, Edgefield County, SC

upon there oths do say the said Milledge Stuard Came to his death from some unknown Cause to us but Suppose from heart Disease

Milly Roler November 2, 1819 Kershaw County, SC

do say upon their oaths [that] the said Milley Roler came to her Death by the act of God as far we know

Milton Ponder January 19, 1867 at Milton Ponder's, Greenville County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Milton Ponder came to his death … by the hand of Providence

Moriah Scott infant child September 26, 1875 at Ness[?] Scott's, Greenville County, SC illness

upon their oaths, do say that Moriah L. Scott infant child … came to her death from cold

Morriss unknown free man of color January 7, 1858 at Grief Tater's residence, Anderson County, SC possible heart attack

do say the said that Morris (a free man of color)…more than probably came to his death by dropsy of the heart

Nance infant child April 24, 1832 at the house of Benjamin Landrum, Union County, SC

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

Nancy Loyns June 25, 1889 at Elias Ballingers, Spartanburg County, SC consumption

upon there oaths do say from the evidence heard in case and our belief is that she died of consumption

Nancy Montjoy October 13, 1889 Spartanburg County, SC heart disease

upon their oaths do say that she the said Nancy Montjoy came to her death from natural causes, probably disease of the heart

Nathan Hawkins August 16, 1832 at House of Nathan Hawkins, Union County, SC

do say upon their oaths that the Sd Nathan Hawkins … died by the visitation of God in a natural way

Nathaniel Miller September 2, 1825 Spartanburg County, SC

do say upon their oaths aforesaid that he came to his death by an act of God

Negro child Negro child September 29, 1835 at Robt Beety[?], Union County, SC

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

negro child negro child January 16, 1854 at [???], Union County, SC

do say upon their oaths … that it came to its death by the visitation of God

negro child negro child October 11, 1857 at T. C. Lesters, Greenville County, SC illness

upon their oaths do say that she came to her death by strangling or choking with phlegm

negro child negro child July 13, 1835 at the house or on the plantation of Charles Humphries, Union County, SC

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

negro child negro child November 1, 1837 at Union C.H., Union County, SC

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

negro child negro child September 23, 1848 at the plantation of Davis Foudalock, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say that … it must have dyed by the visitation of god

negro child a slave negro child a slave January 27, 1835 on the plantation of T Hooker, Union County, SC

do say upon their oaths that the Sd child … died by the visitation of god in a natural way

Nelly Grazier July 8, 1888 at Enora, Spartanburg County, SC

upon their oaths do say that thy are the believe that the said Nellie Grazier came to her death by the hand of providence

Nesbitt Rice April 21, 1886 at Poplar Springs, Spartanburg County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Nesbitt Rice came to his death by hand [of] god

Nicholas Gibson June 26, 1884 at the residence of Nicholas Gibson, Spartanburg County, SC debility, warm weather, and advanced age

upon their oaths do say ... that the aforesaid Nicholas Gibson came to his death ... in the manner as testified to by the examining physician, Dr. M. Bonner

Olin Smith Anderson County, SC

I found he died from natural causes

Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell, Edgefield County, SC disease

said Burns came to his death by visitation of God … that the immediate cause leading to sudden death, was the bursting of a blood vessel in or about the heart or lungs

Patrick Keenan June 18, 1869 at Union Court House, Union County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said P. H. Keenan came to his death by the hand of Providence

Patsey Blanton May 5, 1886 at L. Blanton's residence, Spartanburg County, SC

upon their oaths do say that they consider the said Patsey Blanton came to her death by the providence of God

Peggy slave March 28, 1841 at Mr. Adamson's plantation, Kershaw County, SC

upon their oaths do say that we find upon examination that [the] negro woman called Peggy Adamson the property of Mrs. Adamson ... came to her death by the visitation of the Divine providence

Peter negro man May 5, 1835 On the plantation of Jim[?] Rochester, Union County, SC

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

Peter C. Oclan January 7, 1850 at C. Burch's, Spartanburg County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the sd. P.C. Oclan came to his death by the act of God

Peter Moore July 3, 1880 at the residence of Mrs. Mary Dobson near Cedar Hill, Spartanburg County, SC unknown

upon their oaths do say that he came to his death ... by an act of Almighty God

Peter Williford May 2, 1876 at Daniel Williford's, Anderson County, SC

do say that some time between the hours of 3 oclock on the 1st of May 1876 and 8oclock on the 2d day of may May 1876 that the deceased came to his death by the act of God

Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH, Edgefield County, SC

do say as follows: That we the Jurors find that the deceased Peyton Bird came to his death by visitation of God from rupture of a blood vessel called Aorta

Polly Evins August 18, 1886 at Joe Waters, Spartanburg County, SC asthma

upon their oaths do say that the deceased came to her death from natural causes

Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt, Edgefield County, SC

we find that the decesed Came to her death … from the [?] of age and Probealy as Stated by the Dr from Heart Failure

Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place, Edgefield County, SC suffocation

upon their oaths, do say: that Pompy Robinson came to his death from throat trouble

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