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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia