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
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide

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