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
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown

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