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
Namesort ascending Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Larkin Swearengen April 1, 1852 at the hous of Larkin Swearengen Suicide razor
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident

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