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
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide

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