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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes

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