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
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident

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