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
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide

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