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
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes

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