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
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident

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