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
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes

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