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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Michael Long October 11, 1877 near the Residence of E.N. Youngblood Suicide knife
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Samuel M. Dowel July 25, 1844 at James Murrels Suicide knife
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Griffin Mays November 20, 1897 at W. H. Pordew Unknown pistol
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol

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