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
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide

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