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
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
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
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
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
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident

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