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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Michael Long October 11, 1877 near the Residence of E.N. Youngblood Suicide knife
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife

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