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
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
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
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation 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