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 Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Rachiel Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Mary Bright Hanpt[?] October 6, 1881 at Bright Hanpt[?] Unknown
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
John H Webb January 22, 1882 at James Webb Residence Accident
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Jesse Moragna[?] March 3, 1882 at Luke Moragines[?] House Accident
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Jane Glover January 12, 1883 at Handy Tanks House on John Wir[?] plantation Unknown
Mingo Mosley January 13, 1883 at Samuel[?] Corley's Accident
Infant Boy Child Colored Infant Boy Child Colored February 15, 1883 at the residence of Charles Coleman Unknown
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
James Edward Settle boy March 9, 1884 on Henry Hill Plantation Accident
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Ernest Bean April 6, 1884 at the Mill of B[?] Hill Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
John Rufus Russell October 10, 1884 at John L Russell House Accident
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Manerva Sanders March 22, 1890 at Webb S.C Accident tornado
Willis Cumings child October 10, 1890 at C. M. Lanhams Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Sarah Lucas October 30, 1890 at Mr. M L Holson Accident
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Sallie Young December 8, 1890 at Mr A. F Broadwaters Plantation Accident
Selena Allen child, boy, baby December 12, 1890 at Mrs Blacks[?] Plantation Accident
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes

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