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
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes

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