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
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
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
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning

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