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 Type Death Methodsort descending
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other

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