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
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident

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