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 Typesort descending Death Method
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident

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