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
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide

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