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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide

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