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
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
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 Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon

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