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 Methodsort descending
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
Bartly negro man January 16, 1846 in the woods near the plantation of Dr Wm M Bent Unknown
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident

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