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
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident

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