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
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other

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