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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes

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