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
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident

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