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
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Ryal Negro Slave July 28, 1851 at Mr Thos McKies Batteau landing on Big Stephen's Creek Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat

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