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
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident

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