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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes

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