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 Typesort ascending Death Method
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church 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
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident

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