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
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide

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