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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide

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