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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes

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