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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes

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