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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes

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