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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide

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