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
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident

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