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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Emanuel Johnson October 7, 1893 at Wards Accident train
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
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
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
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Ezekiel Thomas February 4, 1879 near Johnstons Accident train
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident

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