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 ascending
Lawrence Frazier child January 14, 1895 at D.B. Holingsworths Accident
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
J. F. Styron April 21, 1891 at residence of J. F. Styron[?] Accident
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Edinborough Ryan December 30, 1882 at Mrs D. L Bussy Plantation Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Cland Elam child March 17, 1892 at A. J. Norris Place Accident
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Lucius Walker October 5, 1869 at James Doziers plantation Accident
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Benjamin Cockroft March 18, 1847 in the woods near the house of Beryman[?] Bledsoe Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Henry Jones September 21, 1855 Accident
John Shumport[?] November 7, 1851 at John Shumports[?] Accident
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Jim Brown Child April 19, 1882 on Jasper Talbert Premises Unknown
Fed Martin convict September 1, 1895 at Poor House and CH Unknown
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Duke negro man March 25, 1855 near Dennis Carpenters Accident

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