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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
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
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
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
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail

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