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
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident

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