Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262
Enslaved population (1850): 22,725
Percent slave: 58%
Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524
Date range: 1829-1899
Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident pine tree
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Accident alcohol
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] unknown unknown/mental illness
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident drowning
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident animal
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident drowning
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes disease
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident drowning
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide gun
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin unknown
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place unknown gun
Albert Brunson at Edgefield CH Accident train
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house unknown gun
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide gun
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident drowning
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident gun
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide gun
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide gun
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes illness
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Accident disease/fall
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide hanging
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide blunt instrument
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road unknown
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide gun
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide hanging
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide gun
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse, fall
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes disease
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident fall
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent unknown
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide gun
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident drowning
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide gun
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes possible mental illness
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident alcohol/exposure
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide gun

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