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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
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
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes

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