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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident

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