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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes

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