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
Namesort ascending Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide rifle
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide vine
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide rope
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes

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