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
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes

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