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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes

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