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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Sarah Jowls[?] November 16, 1858 at Mrs Mary Ann Keys Suicide rope
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
J. Hancock June 13, 1859 at J. Hancocks Suicide shotgun
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes

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