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
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes

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