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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes

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