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
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
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
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident

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