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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
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
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
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
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide

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