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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
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
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes

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