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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident

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