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 251 - 300 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident tree top
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide gun
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises unknown
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident drowning
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide gun
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide gun
Joe infant negro August 26, 1860 at John Huiets Accident suffocation
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide gun
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide gun
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence unknown gun
Joel Roper Sr. August 30, 1845 at the house of Joel Roper Sr Suicide hanging
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident gun
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide sharp instrument
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide gun
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide gun
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident drowning
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide gun
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide gun
John Hester May 13, 1846 at Hamburg in the shop of J.J. Kenedy Accident machinery/mental illness
John J. Cobb July 23, 1843 at William Elkins Mill Pond Suicide drowning
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide sharp instrument/gun
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide gun
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Accident alcohol
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide gun
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident fall
John Radford April 12, 1860 at the residence of John Radford Accident wagon
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident suffocation
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident fall
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident fall
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident wagon
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide gun
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident mental illness
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
John Young June 27, 1891 at the residence of John Young Accident exposure
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide gun
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse, fall
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident drowning
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide sharp instrument
Joseph Ruffington January 9, 1893 at Thos O Attaways Accident tree

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