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 Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident

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