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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown

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