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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident gun
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident drowning
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon, fall
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident gun
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide drowning
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide knife
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident alcohol
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident rock
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide gun
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg unknown blunt instrument
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide blunt instrument
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes disease
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Charles negro man February 27, 1850 at Scotts Shoals on Savannah River Accident drowning
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident fire
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide gun
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident machinery
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident exposure
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide gun
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident gun
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident fire
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide blunt instrument
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident gun
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident fire
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide fire
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident gun
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes disease
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident drowning
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide drowning/alcohol
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide gun
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide gun
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident drowning
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide gun
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide gun
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident drowning
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident drowning
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes child birth
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes mental illness
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident alcohol/exposure
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide gun
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House gun/illness

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