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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
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
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
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
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide

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