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 Typesort descending Death Method
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident

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