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 Datesort ascending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide

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