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 201 - 250 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
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson 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
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
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
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia