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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident

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