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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident

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