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
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado

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