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 Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes

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