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
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes

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