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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes

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