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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort ascending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
J. Hancock June 13, 1859 at J. Hancocks Suicide shotgun
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Sarah Jowls[?] November 16, 1858 at Mrs Mary Ann Keys Suicide rope
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Wesley Weaver[?] June 15, 1858 at Mrs Lydia Nevus[?] Suicide shotgun
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol

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