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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia