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
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail

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