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
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident

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