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 Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
James S. Aiton June 19, 1893 at J.S. Aiton deceased Suicide pistol
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes

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