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 Type Death Methodsort descending
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown

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