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
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded]
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House gun/illness
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes alcohol/injury
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes disease
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes disease
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes illness
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes possible mental illness
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes disease
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes disease
Silvy Nix Natural Causes disease
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes disease
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes mental illness
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes disease
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes illness
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes illness
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes possible alcohol
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes disease

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