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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide

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