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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes

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