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 Method
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Griffin Mays November 20, 1897 at W. H. Pordew Unknown pistol
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Hampton Weaver colored July 17, 1869 at the house of and on the farm of James T Outz Accident shotgun
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Henry Langley April 2, 1848 at Wm Vances Accident wagon
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia