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 Type Death Methodsort ascending
Larkin Swearengen April 1, 1852 at the hous of Larkin Swearengen Suicide razor
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
William Humphry January 4, 1894 at Etheridge Bridge Accident pocket knife
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Spencer Mays freedman November 8, 1866 at John Buslys Accident pistol
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Wily Royal January 7, 1895 at J.S. Hancocks Accident pistol
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Isah Zimmerman December 26, 1881 at the Residence of W F Ste[?]eies Accident pistol
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Griffin Mays November 20, 1897 at W. H. Pordew Unknown pistol
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
James S. Aiton June 19, 1893 at J.S. Aiton deceased Suicide pistol
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Lizzie Carson January 29, 1892 at John J Carson Coleman Township Suicide pistol
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Charles S. Harrison November 25, 1878 at E.C. House Accident pistol
George Bowers May 26, 1891 at Kenards bend Accident mule
Willie Glover July 26, 1892 at Lark Glovers Plantation Accident mule
Richard negro boy Slave September 9, 1850 at Thomas Garretts Accident machinery
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning

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