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
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident

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