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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia