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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Griffin Mays November 20, 1897 at W. H. Pordew Unknown pistol
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes

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