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
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident

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