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 Typesort descending Death Method
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident

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