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
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes

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