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
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident

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