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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Joseph Shaw July 26, 1858 at the residence of John H Shaw near Edgefield C.H. Accident drowning
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide gun
Joshua negro man slave June 26, 1860 at Harmon Gallman unknown disease/mental illness
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide gun and fence rail
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide gun
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes disease
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident fire
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide gun
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Accident gun
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide gun
Kenneth Martor[?] January 15, 1852 at Thomas Samar's[?] Mills on horse creek Accident machinery
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Larkin Swearengen April 1, 1852 at the hous of Larkin Swearengen Suicide razor
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident gun
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident fire
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes disease
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide blunt instrument
Lesthia Ridlehouse[Ridlehover?] January 5, 1892 at the Residence of Mrs Edny Mary Accident fire
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide gun
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Natural Causes exposure
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide hanging
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide gun
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide gun
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse, fall
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide knife
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident fire
Lila Washington February 20, 1879 at Wesley Barns Mill Accident fire
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident drowning
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident drowning
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes disease
Lizzie Carson January 29, 1892 at John J Carson Coleman Township Suicide gun
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident fire
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes possible alcohol
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident exposure
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Louisa slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident drowning
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife and gun
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident gun
Lousay November 25, 1860 at Doct John E. Padgett Accident fire
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide drowning
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide gun
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident machinery
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Infanticide neglect
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide gun

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