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 501 - 524 of 524
Name Deceased Description Datesort descending Inquest Location Death Type Death Method
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Elijah Sullivan April 24, 1898 at Cow-buel[?] place Accident
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Fannie Patton November 18, 1898 at Francis Williams house Accident
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Lucy Roper June 29, 1899 on the pantation of S.W. Miller Accident lightning
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol

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