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 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident

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