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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Edmond Smallwood October 19, 1892 at E. C. Ridgells Plantation Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
infant, child infant, child November 29, 1894 at the plantation of J. P. Roton Natural Causes
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
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
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
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
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide

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