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
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide

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