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 Typesort descending Death Method
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident

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