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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide rope
Jacob Long Jr. December 19, 1848 at Jacob Longs Suicide razor
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
William L. Russell September 6, 1849 in the Hotel of H Jordon Suicide razor
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Ellick negro man April 26, 1851 at the house of W. F Prescott Suicide rope
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes

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