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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes

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