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
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] 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
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick

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