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 251 - 300 of 301
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Method Inquest Finding
Julia Rice June 27, 1887 at Clough Rice's, Spartanburg County, SC heart disease

upon their oaths do say that in our opinion the deceased came to her death from some natural cause, probably heart disease

Daniel W. Willis September 27, 1887 at the residence of the deceased Daniel Willis, Spartanburg County, SC heart disease

upon their oaths do say that the [said] Daniel Willis came to his death of heart disease

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

Hezehiah Gulledge January 14, 1889 at Clifton, Spartanburg County, SC heart disease
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

Laban Johnson May 15, 1889 at Clifton, Spartanburg County, SC heart trouble

do say that the said Laban Johnson came to his death from heart troubles brought on by natural causes

Alexander Moore May 22, 1889 at Wellford, Spartanburg County, SC apoplexy

upon their oaths do say that the deceased Alexander Moore came to his death from the evidence given and our belief [is] that he died of apoplexy

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

twin infants September 15, 1889 at Rosa Foster's, Spartanburg County, SC stillbirth

do say that the twin children were stillborn & that no violence has been practiced

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

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

Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation, Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oaths do say that she came to her death from rheumatism of the Heart … by natural causes

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

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

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

Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation, Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oaths do say that … Mrs Julia Banks … Supposed to have died from heart decise

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

Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased, Edgefield County, SC illness

upon the oaths of the Jury aforesaid do say that the said Henry Jennings came to his death from Heart Disease

George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis, Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oaths do say from Heart failure

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

Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do Say that the Said Miss Bettie Willis Came to her death … by the Act of God. From Heart Failure or disease accompied with Dropsie

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

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

Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do Say that the Said Eddie Watson came to his death from Natural Causes

Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Albert Watson came to his death from Natural Causes

Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence, Edgefield County, SC

upon their do Say … that the aforesaid Levi S. Mathews … Came to his death from hart Failure

Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation, Edgefield County, SC disease

upon their oaths do say That she came to her death from heart failure

Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do Say That Amanda Glover came to her death from hart Failure

Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that he came to his death … from heart trouble

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

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

Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say … that the said Caroline Coleman aforesaid came to her death from heart failure

Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?], Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say, that she said Lona May Hamilton came to death … on the plantation of J.A. Deale … by accidental suffication

Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that the said Lidda Hampton came to her death from heart failure

Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say that Kisiah Frazier came to her death from natural causes … Rheumatic trouble of the heart

infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say, that the said Infant Came to its death from a cause unknown

Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oath do say: that said Frank Milton aforesaid came to his death from natural causes, that is to say from inflammation of the lungs

Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say, that from the evidence before us by misfortune and that said misfortune was caused by the bursting of an artery And So the said jurors aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Emaline Jackson came to her death in manner and form

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

Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oaths do say and belief that he Joel W. Warren came to his death by heart failure

Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation, Edgefield County, SC

the said Bluford Abney came to his death by natural causes or colic

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

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

Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm, Edgefield County, SC illness

upon their oaths do say: That the child Came to its death from causes unknown

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

W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place, Edgefield County, SC

upon their oath do Say he come to his Death by Providential occurance or heart failure

Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C., Edgefield County, SC

upon their Oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Dick Stevens died … from visitation of God

Amanda Hogan May 11, 1898 at the late residence of Miss Amanda Hogan, Kershaw County, SC heart attack

upon their oaths do say that the said Amanda Hogan came to her death from natural and providential causes

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

Henry Shaw April 14, 1899 at the place of R. W. Humphries, Kershaw County, SC pneumonia

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