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 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown

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