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
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident

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