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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes

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