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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
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
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
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
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide

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