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 Type Death Methodsort descending
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes

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