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
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Fannie Ford March 5, 1893 at Trenton S.C. Accident train
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident

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