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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide

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