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
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes

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