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 ascending Death Method
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes

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