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
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles 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
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun

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