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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Larkin Swearengen April 1, 1852 at the hous of Larkin Swearengen Suicide razor
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide rifle
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Wesley Weaver[?] June 15, 1858 at Mrs Lydia Nevus[?] Suicide shotgun
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident

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