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 1 - 50 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded]
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House gun/illness
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes disease
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes alcohol/injury
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes illness
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes disease
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Silvy Nix Natural Causes disease
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes illness
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes disease
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes illness
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes disease
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes disease
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes disease
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes suffocation
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Natural Causes exposure
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes child birth
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes

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