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
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
W. T. Mathis November 11, 1897 at the Yeldell place Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide

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