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 Methodsort descending
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
William C. Goff May 7, 1865 at Bethany Church Accident
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Henry negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at New Savannah in beach Island Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Eldrige Padgett February 9, 1859 at Eidson Padgetts Accident
Abram negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at Henry L Maysons Accident
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Enoch Douglass August 11, 1879 near Wesly Barrs on the rail road Accident
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide

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