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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes

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