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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train

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