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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville 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
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia