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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse

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