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
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide

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