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 Methodsort descending
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide

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