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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide

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