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
Namesort descending Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Ellick negro man April 26, 1851 at the house of W. F Prescott Suicide rope
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife

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