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
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident

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