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 Typesort descending Death Method
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident

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