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
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons 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
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident

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