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
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Gertrude infant child December 1, 1891 at Edgfield Court house Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
negro man negro man April 10, 1850 near Kilcreases Ferry Accident
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman Unknown
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Hampton Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident

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