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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Minda negro girl August 17, 1851 at Mr Geo Robinsons Unknown
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills 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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