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 ascending
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident

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