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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope
Jacob Long Jr. December 19, 1848 at Jacob Longs Suicide razor
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
J. J. Jennings November 16, 1860 at J J Jennings Suicide
William L. Russell September 6, 1849 in the Hotel of H Jordon Suicide razor
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide rope
Ellick negro man April 26, 1851 at the house of W. F Prescott Suicide rope
J. Hancock June 13, 1859 at J. Hancocks Suicide shotgun
Joel Roper Sr. August 30, 1845 at the house of Joel Roper Sr Suicide rope
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun

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