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
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident

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