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
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Seware[?] Stuart November 4, 1893 at J.[?] E. Griffiths Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide

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