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
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Clem slave, boy October 3, 1858 at Tabitha Abney's Accident
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
James Blocker May 6, 1897 Accident train
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Jesse Limbecker June 18, 1869 at Hamburg Accident
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
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
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde 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
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes

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