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 Typesort descending Death Method
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon

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