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
Levi S. Mathews July 13, 1892 at G. C. Wheerles[?] Residence Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Ana May Blocker child December 2, 1894 at Ben Boatwrights farm 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
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
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
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide

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