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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Samuel M. Dowel July 25, 1844 at James Murrels Suicide knife
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Sarah Jowls[?] November 16, 1858 at Mrs Mary Ann Keys Suicide rope
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes

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