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
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
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
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident

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