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
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Albert Watson June 15, 1892 at the plantation of W.B. Maffett Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia