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 Typesort descending Death Method
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident

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