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
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident

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