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
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Louisa 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
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia