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
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes

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