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
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville 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
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident

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