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
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Mary Harrison September 10, 1894 at Dornville Accident
Isaac negro man December 1, 1856 at a point on the South Carolina Rail Road [?] Brooks Mill creek Accident train
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
Mary female Slave January 13, 1853 at Isaac Bowles[?] Accident
Mary Blocker December 6, 1894 at R H Parks Accident strychnine
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes

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