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
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
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
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown

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