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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Simon slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Ellen slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Albert Brunson June 26, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident

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