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
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife

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