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 ascending
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide vine
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun
J. Hancock June 13, 1859 at J. Hancocks Suicide shotgun
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Wesley Weaver[?] June 15, 1858 at Mrs Lydia Nevus[?] Suicide shotgun
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
Ellick negro man April 26, 1851 at the house of W. F Prescott Suicide rope
Joel Roper Sr. August 30, 1845 at the house of Joel Roper Sr Suicide rope
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide rope
Sarah Jowls[?] November 16, 1858 at Mrs Mary Ann Keys Suicide rope
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide rifle
William L. Russell September 6, 1849 in the Hotel of H Jordon Suicide razor
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Jacob Long Jr. December 19, 1848 at Jacob Longs Suicide razor

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