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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown

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