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
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill unknown
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent unknown
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road unknown
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place unknown
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons unknown
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes unknown
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford unknown
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin unknown
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. unknown
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH unknown
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] unknown
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers unknown
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River unknown
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded]
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises unknown
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes

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