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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident

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