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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
John Whitlock boy September 8, 1869 at Grainteville Accident
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Isaac Oliphant November 9, 1882 at Ritch Thomson Accident
Lizzie Darian child November 21, 1894 at Waldo Richardsons Accident
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
Joel Etheridge November 29, 1893 at Joel Etheridge Residence Unknown
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown

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