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
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded]
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House gun/illness
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Natural Causes exposure
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes illness
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes suffocation
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes disease
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes disease
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
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
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes disease
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes alcohol/injury
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes illness
Silvy Nix Natural Causes disease
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes disease
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes disease
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes disease
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes possible alcohol
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes disease
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease

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