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
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes

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