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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes

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