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 ascending
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
infant child infant child October 6, 1891 at her Residence Unknown
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
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
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Blanchy Wilson November 30, 1893 on the plantation of Robert Hastings Accident
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
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
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide

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