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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide

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