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
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House gun/illness
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded]
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes disease
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes illness
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes disease
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes child birth
Reubin Weaver at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes disease
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes mental illness
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
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
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes suffocation
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes disease
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes

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