History of Coroners
The Former Coroners of Richland County
• 1847 H. Maxey
• 1854 D.B. Miller
• 1868 Thomas P. Walker
Coroner Walker refused to surrender his position as Coroner to the newly elected William B Johnston. Coroner Walker was then forced by the Attorney General of the State of South Carolina to surrender his office.
• 1868 William B. Johnston
Coroner Johnston also served as Magistrate. He received a Certificate of Election by General Canby who, during the Re Construction Period was in Command of the Military District which was Head Quartered in Charleston, South Carolina.
• 1870 S.B. Thompson
One of Coroner Thompson’s duties was to auction property of convicted defendants. In September of 1870 he advertised and then held an auction at the Richland County Courthouse to sell 966 acres of land bordering the Congaree River in Richland County.
• 1885 – 1888 John A. Civil
In addition to serving as Coroner, he served as Auditor for the city of Columbia and then was employed by The State Newspaper. He was a lifelong resident of Columbia, having seen it grow from a village to what was considered a metropolitan area. A member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
• 1889 – 1890 and 1893 -1894 Job Johnson Roach
In addition to serving as Coroner, he was a Magistrate’s Constable. He and his wife raised 10 children and were members of Washington Street Methodist Church.
• 1897 -1904 William S. Green
Coroner Green also served as Jury Bailiff for the Clerk of Court and as a member of the Richland County Board of Registration. A popular character known as Uncle Billy who spent most of his time at the Richland County Courthouse – in fact he spent Saturday afternoon there, greeting friends and died that night in his apartment on Main Street.
• 1904 – 1912 Richard D. Walker
Coroner Walker also served as the City Scales Manager and was a Veteran of the Spanish American War. A member of Ebenezer Church.
• 1918 – 1928 J. Blakely Scott
He was appointed to serve as Coroner by SC Governor Manning. Served on the Board of Tax Assessors and was elected to the County Board of Commissioners. He played Quarterback at Furman University and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He was survived by his father, TA Scott who was a well known Confederate Veteran. Coroner Scott was a Deacon at The First Presbyterian Church of Columbia.
• 1929 -1933 William A. McCain, Sr.
Coroner McCain was a Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy and his father was Richland County Sheriff. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Eau Claire Masonic Lodge #344 and a member of Main Street Methodist Church. Among the Honorary Pallbearers at his funeral were all of the members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Senator Olin D Johnston and Coroner Cecil Wiles.
• 1933 – 1941 J.A. Sargent
During World War II Coroner Sargent served as a government photographer at Camp Jackson (now Fort Jackson). He got into Law Enforcement after the war and was regarded as a fearless Law Enforcement Officer. He was a member of Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Honorary Pallbearers at his funeral were Dr. WR Barron, Sheriff T Alex Heise and deputies, Chief L.J. Campbell and members of the Columbia Police Department, Chief A. McC Marsh and members of the Columbia Fire Department, Chief S.J. Pratt and members of the State Constabulary and all Richland County Officials.
• 1941 H.H. Knox
Coroner Knox who was serving as Magistrate was appointed by SC Governor R.M.Jefferies to fill the unexpired term of Coroner J.A. Sargent.
• 1942 – 1953 W.A. ‘Bill’ Plott
Coroner Plott was a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Embalming and a licensed Funeral Director for 54 years. He was a member of Acacia Masonic Lodge 94 and Omar Temple of the Shrine. He was a member of Washington Street Methodist Church.
• 1953 – 1978 Cecil L. Wiles
Coroner Wiles is responsible for obtaining Richland County’s first autopsy equipment in 1954. A Columbia High School Graduate, a member of Acacia Lodge 94 AFM, a member of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association and a member of First Baptist Church.
• 1978 – 2001 Frank Barron
A political appointee by Governor James Edwards to fill the term of Coroner Cecil L.Wiles who died while in office, Coroner Barron was elected to serve 5 terms.
• 2001 – 2020 Gary Watts
• 2020 – Present Naida Rutherford