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
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Adam negro man Slave, boy August 3, 1850 at Vaucluse Factory Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
George Delaughter April 30, 1861 at the Hamburg Passenger Depot Accident train
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Abram man slave August 17, 1860 at the Residence of Gen[?] Jas B. Griffin Accident snake
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes

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