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 Datesort ascending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Lizzie Carson January 29, 1892 at John J Carson Coleman Township Suicide pistol
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident

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