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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House 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
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident

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