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 Typesort descending Death Method
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat

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