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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Milton Barter[?] youth August 24, 1849 at Capt. Andrew J Hammonds Mills Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident

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