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
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident

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