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
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Infant Infant December 18, 1894 at the Rinheart Grave yard Unknown
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Charles negro boy March 7, 1857 at Archy Clark residence Accident
Henry Goodman May 4, 1851 at or near to William H Adams on little horse Creek Accident
Aggy Latily[?] negro woman slave June 21, 1848 at the plantation of N L Griffin Unknown
Sam slave, boy October 10, 1857 at the Carolina Hotel, Edgefield C.H. Unknown
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Anderson B. Branham January 6, 1892 at the plantation of M. C. Parker Unknown
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
infant child infant child July 24, 1892 at Promised Land School house Unknown
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Ora Weaver February 21, 1891 at the plantation of D B. H Holfarth[illegible - ink blot] Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
A. G. Howard February 28, 1860 at Grannet Ville Depot Accident
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide

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