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
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
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
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes

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