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
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident

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