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
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
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
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus 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
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's 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
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
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
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident

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