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 Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
David West boy January 30, 1862 at Graniteville Accident
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Hurnon[?] April 4, 1862 at Doct H R Cooks Plantation on Savanah River Unknown
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide vine
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Richard negroe Boy April 21, 1863 in the District of Edgefield Accident train
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Richard J. Barton December 28, 1866 at Mrs Lucinda Bartons Accident
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide

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