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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide

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