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
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident

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