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 Typesort descending Death Method
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
Robert Johnston May 23, 1891 at Clarks Ferry below bridge on C. & G.[?] R R Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Sam negro man October 19, 1856 on the track of the South Carolina Rail Road between the Paper Mill and Marsh's Accident train
Milledge Fuller freedman February 18, 1867 at John Ransford plantation Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia