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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown

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