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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes

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