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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys 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
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol

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