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 Methodsort ascending
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
infant child infant child November 17, 1891 at Mr M Toneys place Unknown
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
infant child infant child January 18, 1892 at the Plantation of L. G. Swearinger Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Edmond Price April 30, 1892 at Kennys Graveyard Unknown
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Joseph Powel August 18, 1879 at [??] Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes

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