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
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
Garett Doby at William Rufus Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes possible alcohol
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes disease
infant male child infant male child in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes disease
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes illness/mental illness
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes disease
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes disease
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes disease
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes illness
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Natural Causes exposure
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes disease
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes disease
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes suffocation
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes mental illness
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes disease
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes illness
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes disease
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes disease
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes child birth

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