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 Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide

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