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 Typesort descending Death Method
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident

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