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
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
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
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes

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