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
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes

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