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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol

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