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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident

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