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 Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Lizzie Carson January 29, 1892 at John J Carson Coleman Township Suicide pistol
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes

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