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
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident

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