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
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes

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