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 Datesort ascending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown

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