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
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
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
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident

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