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
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia