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
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
John Randall October 19, 1857 at the dwelling house of John Randall Suicide razor
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Lewis slave May 21, 1861 at S. H. Roggers Suicide
Ann negro woman December 8, 1848 at the house of Benja F Landrum Suicide rope
Robert slave, boy April 8, 1847 at Edward Hampton's Suicide
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun
Ellick negro man April 26, 1851 at the house of W. F Prescott Suicide rope
Larkin Swearengen April 1, 1852 at the hous of Larkin Swearengen Suicide razor
J. Hancock June 13, 1859 at J. Hancocks Suicide shotgun
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope

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