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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident

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