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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident

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