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
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm Natural Causes
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Samuel Harrison February 18, 1881 at [inelligible - faded] Accident
Elmira Jackson May 18, 1884 at George Holingsworths House Accident
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Gus West October 11, 1883 at Jack Holms Unknown
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Belaus[Velaus?] slave, boy March 30, 1863 at Robert Smiths Accident
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Jack negro boy May 14, 1852 at the house of H. W. Posey Accident
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide

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