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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident

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