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 ascending
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
infant infant December 15, 1892 at Mr. Pleasant Grave Yard Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide

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