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 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Infanticide strangulation
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident child birth
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes child birth
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place unknown suffocation
infant child infant child November 23, 1891 at the plantation of Willis Owdom[?] Accident suffocation
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Infanticide unknown/fire
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident fire
infant male child infant male child in Edgefield County Natural Causes
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Infanticide drugs
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide gun
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident alcohol/suffocation
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide sharp instrument
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident gun
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident gun
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide gun
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide gun
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide gun
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes disease
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Accident alcohol
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident exposure
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide gun
J. Hancock June 13, 1859 at J. Hancocks Suicide gun
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide fire
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide gun
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident drowning
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide gun
Jacob Long Jr. December 19, 1848 at Jacob Longs Suicide razor
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide gun
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide gun
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident exposure/mental illness
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident suffocation
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident blunt instrument
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide hanging
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident gun
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide gun
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide blunt instrument
James S. Aiton June 19, 1893 at J.S. Aiton deceased Suicide gun
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide gun
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation unknown unknown
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident drowning

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