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
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Polly Vines April 20, 1892 at the house of Ben. Holt Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Infred Padgett July 12, 1848 at the Joal of Edgefield Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes

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