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
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton 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
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes

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