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
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident

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