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
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes disease
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes illness
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes illness
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes disease
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes disease
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes child birth
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Natural Causes exposure
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes disease
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes disease
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes possible mental illness
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes disease
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes disease
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes disease
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes disease
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes alcohol/injury

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