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
Namesort ascending Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes

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