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 Methodsort descending
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Ras slave December 6, 1850 at D Dennys Mill Suicide
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown

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