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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes

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