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 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes

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