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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort ascending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide rifle
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Larkin Swearengen April 1, 1852 at the hous of Larkin Swearengen Suicide razor
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Ellick negro man April 26, 1851 at the house of W. F Prescott Suicide rope
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident

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