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
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes

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