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
Alick Croker boy September 29, 1878 at Mrs. Marshes premises Accident
James Perry December 27, 1894 at Mt Enon Church Accident
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
Allen Bauknight freedman June 11, 1866 at William Bauknights Accident
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
William Harlin February 19, 1856 at a new place sitting by Mr James Swearingem(Jr) on the Akien Road Accident
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Mike negro man September 13, 1844 at Dr John D. Nicholsons Mill Accident
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Charles slave July 31, 1851 at the house of John M. Norris Esqr in Edgefield Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Minnie Johnson December 22, 1892 at John Bettis plantation Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
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
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes

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