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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Stepney negro man September 29, 1848 at the Swamp Platation of Wiley Glover, decd on Savannah River Suicide
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Thomas child of Thomas M Chandler September 11, 1850 at Thos M. Chandler's house, and at the old Pottery Accident
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Thomas Rosseter[?] August 30, 1852 at Hamburg SC Accident
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Thomas Welheu[?] June 19, 1868 at Benjamin Better[?] wheat field on the Columbia & Augusta Rail Road Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Toby negro man July 10, 1844 near Bauskett Bridge on Stevens Creek Accident
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Tom Waldrum colored man (Free) January 20, 1857 in the woods near Mr Avory Franklins Accident
Unknown April 11, 1860 at or near W.J. Walkers Unknown
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
Unknown October 10, 1869 at Graniteville Accident train
Uriah Koon October 16, 1847 at the house of Col John Hunt Accident wagon
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Wade Medlock July 12, 1894 at Benjamin Boatwrights Plantation Unknown
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Wallace Halloway June 25, 1895 at Edgefield Court house Accident train
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Wesley Weaver[?] June 15, 1858 at Mrs Lydia Nevus[?] Suicide shotgun
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes

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