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 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Samuel M. Dowel July 25, 1844 at James Murrels Suicide knife
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Joel Roper Sr. August 30, 1845 at the house of Joel Roper Sr Suicide rope
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide

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