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
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident

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