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
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Andrew negro man October 6, 1855 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road Accident train
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon

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