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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide

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