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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort ascending
Ransom Hollaway May 14, 1862 at Ransom Holaways Accident lightning
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Samuel M. Dowel July 25, 1844 at James Murrels Suicide knife
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Michael Long October 11, 1877 near the Residence of E.N. Youngblood Suicide knife
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Joseph Jay October 4, 1860 at Joseph Jays Accident horse
Ben Culbreath July 24, 1895 at Jno A Corleys plantation Accident horse
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
John Scott May 10, 1851 at Vaucluse[?] Factory Accident horse
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Auson Peeler July 25, 1868 near Kalmia[?] Mills Accident horse
Sherod Holms October 10, 1884 at Sherod Holms House Accident horse
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Steve Yeldell October 28, 1894 at Edgefield Accident cart
John Seigler February 13, 1856 at J.H. Christians Accident buggy
Liz slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Peter slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat
Betsey slaves March 4, 1860 at the mill Pond of W. Glover on mill Creek Accident boat

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