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Nineteenth Century Coroner Reports

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This is a pretty amazing digitized collection of 19th century coroner reports from South Carolina, put together by historians at the University of Georgia, which go into great detail about the deaths of individuals. The coroners were investigators of sorts so they wrote a lot about these deaths, including that of slaves. Here’s one example:

The State vs. Gabiel Coats for killing a Negro woman the property of John Brown. The voluntary confession of Gabriel Coats. He saith that on Tuesday the 14th Instant when he was correcting a negro boy the property of said John Brown that a Negro woman the mother of said boy & the property of said Brown named Sylvia came to him and ordered him to quit whipping the boy. Coats ordered her away, she then rushed between him and the boy. He coats then pushed her aside with his hand, and continued to correct the boy. She rushed in between them again, and Coats says he gave her a stroke over the arm with the switch he was whipping the boy with and ordered her away again. The Negro woman then said to him, “My God, don’t do that again,” and pushed in between him and the boy again. Coats says he struck her over the shoulder again, and ordered the boy to pick up the seed corn that he had spilt, and Sylvia ordered the boy to go to replanting corn, and she would pick up the corn herself. She then began picking up the corn, and in about from 5 to 10 minutes afterwards she fell down and complained that he had hurt her, and continued to complain every time he seen her afterwards until Sunday night the 19th Instant when she died, but he says that he think that she was not injured by the two strokes he gave her.

Also, if you want to read a lot of cases of infanticide, you can now do so. Pretty incredible stuff and a great resource.

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