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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident

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