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]
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes alcohol/injury
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes disease
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes mental illness
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes disease
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes disease
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes illness
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes disease
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes disease
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes disease
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes illness
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes illness
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes disease
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes suffocation
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes disease
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes disease
Reubin Weaver at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes disease
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes illness
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes disease
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Silvy Nix Natural Causes disease
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes possible alcohol
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes

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