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 male child infant male child in Edgefield County Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes suffocation
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes disease
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes disease
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes illness
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes disease
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes disease
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Silvy Nix Natural Causes disease
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes disease
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes illness
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Natural Causes exposure
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes disease
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes possible mental illness
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes disease
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes disease
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes mental illness
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes disease
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes child birth
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia