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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort ascending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
William L. Russell September 6, 1849 in the Hotel of H Jordon Suicide razor
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Jacob Long Jr. December 19, 1848 at Jacob Longs Suicide razor
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide rope
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia