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
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident

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