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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes

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