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
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident

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