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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court 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
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide

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