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
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide

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