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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident

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