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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide

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