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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide

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