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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes

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