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
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
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
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun

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