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
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes

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